Cohabitation contracts now a family law option in California

By |2022-10-07T09:40:20+00:0016 Jul 2014|Categories: Family Law, Spousal Support, Unmarried Couples|

A bride walking down the aisle to join her soon-to-be husband at the altar is a romantic vision that many Californians have. For some individuals, though, getting married nowadays is far less attractive because of the divorce rate and the financial challenges of having a child. For these reasons, more and more people are deciding to live together without getting married.

The Census Bureau estimates that more than eight million people were cohabiting in the United States in 2013. This figure is a significant increase over the five million unmarried couples in 2006. In one case, a woman and her boyfriend had chosen to cohabit instead of marry. The couple has a child together and started to cohabit three years ago. Before they did, however, the woman demanded that they sign a cohabitation agreement that clearly laid out how the couple would divide household expenses and what would happen to their house if the relationship ends — she keeps it, and he must move out in two weeks.

In family law, a cohabitation agreement is a legally binding contract that provides asset protection to both parties. The agreement specifies how any assets acquired during the relationship will be divided between the two individuals if and when they break up. One expert on these arrangements observed that they prevent couples from arguing over each other’s assets. A cohabitation agreement can also benefit a partner who opts to stay at home to care for a child, providing financial security just like spousal support does.

In California, the end of a relationship can be messy and complicated, particularly if considerable assets and properties are at stake. Therefore, people need to take steps to protect their rights in case of a break up or divorce.

Source: The New York Times, “All the Conventional Cohabitation, but No Nuptials,” Tatiana Boncompagni, July 3, 2014

About the Author:

Dorie Anne Rogers - The Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers, APC
Dorie A. Rogers, a Family Law Specialist, Certified by the State Bar of California, has been an attorney since 1981 with an exclusive family law practice located in Orange County. She is accepting dissolution cases with support and property issues including the use of forensics to ascertain business value, community interests and to establish monthly case flow analysis. Ms. Rogers has substantial experience in high conflict custody litigation involving sophisticated psychological issues. She drafts premarital and postmarital agreement designed to define and establish parties' separate and community property interests. Paternity cases and domestic violence matters are considered part of her practice. Ms. Rogers is a court-approved and court-appointed to represent minor children.Ms. Rogers consults with individuals concerned about entering or exiting a relationship. She advises effective strategies for dissolution or premarital planning. Knowledge is power and good planning affords better results.Specialties: Family Law Specialist, Certified by the State Bar of California
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