Do I need a prenuptial agreement if I’m not planning to marry?

By |2022-04-06T19:16:13+00:0006 Mar 2016|Categories: Prenuptial Agreements|

Do I need a prenuptial agreement if I’m not planning to marry?

A prenuptial agreement is a legal agreement created by a couple intending to get married. The agreement spells out how existing property would be divided in the event the couple ever gets divorced. When the couple marries, the agreement goes into effect. Sounds pretty straightforward.

Sometimes, however, couples cohabitate without ever choosing to get married. They mingle their assets, live together and, for all intents and purposes, are married. They just never make it legal. What they don?t realize is that if they choose to separate they may find themselves embroiled in an expensive legal battle over who has the rights to existing assets.

Couples who plan to live together long-term may wish to create a cohabitation agreement. This is a formal agreement that allows the couple to spell out how they want property brought into the relationship to be divided. You can think of it as a prenuptial agreement for non-married couples. The agreement can cover division of assets that are accumulated while the couple are together. For instance, one partner may use a bonus from work to buy an expensive piece of art. The partner might assume that since she bought it with money she earned, the art is rightly hers in the event of separation. The other partner might believe he is entitled to at least half its value since they kept a shared bank account and never differentiated between who used what money to buy items.

A cohabitation agreement can discuss how property brought into the partnership should be divided, what would happen to money or gifts acquired through inheritance and even how expenses incurred through the separation process will be handled. Since property laws differ greatly from state to state, it is critical to consult an attorney to help ensure the wishes of each party can be legally enforced and properly carried out.

Rather like writing a will, it?s easy to view creating a cohabitation agreement as a morbid or negative activity. In reality, however, it?s a way for partners to show that they love and respect each other and that, even if the unthinkable occurs and they go their separate ways, they want to ensure that both parties are provided for.

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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