The Ins and Outs of Cohabitation Agreements for Same-Sex Couples
Cohabitation agreements are legal agreements that can be formed between couples who live together. While they can be useful tools for heterosexual couples, they are especially valuable to same-sex couples who choose not to marry. These legal documents allow individuals to protect their assets and interests while their relationships are in good standing – just in case things don’t work out in the long-run.
What is a Cohabitation Agreement?
The term “cohabitation agreement” actually refers to a number of legal documents. Depending on your needs and the laws of your state, the document may be called a “nonmarital agreement” or a “living together contract.” Regardless of the name of your agreement, its purpose is to extend some of the legal protections that married couples enjoy to those that choose to remain unmarried.
Cohabitation agreements often include details regarding:
- Distribution of property – Who gets to keep the furniture? Who gets the boat?
- Division of residences – Will you sell your home or will one partner stay in it?
- Financial support – Will the primary earner continue to support the other partner? Who will pay for health care coverage?
- Joint-tenancy arrangements – Is your estate in just one name, or both of your names?
- Advance healthcare directives – Who has your power of attorney?
The agreements can also outline things like custody and child support, but these arrangements are often struck down in court to meet the best interests of the minors.
When Do You Need a Cohabitation Agreement?
People do not enter into relationships expecting them to fail. Unfortunately, breakups happen – no matter how committed partners may be in the beginning. It’s a common misconception that legal agreements are only necessary if one or both partners are affluent. In today’s litigious environment, legal agreements can be beneficial to everyone, rich or not.
Even couples who have entered into domestic partnerships or civil unions may find cohabitation agreements beneficial. Legal precedence is still an unknown in many states, and some do not accept oral agreements. If you live with your partner and are not married, having a written, legal document prepared may relieve a great deal of time and stress in the future.
Protecting Your Needs and Assets
If you want to reside with your partner, but you do not wish to marry, a cohabitation agreement may be right for you. Deciding to live with another person is a lot like entering into a business partnership. In both cases, obtaining a legal contract can secure your assets, rights, and property.
Is your personal well-being worth protecting?
We are not attorneys, and this should not be considered legal advice. The opinions voiced in this material are for informational purposes only and are not intended to provide specific advice to any individual. This article is not intended to be a substitute for individualized tax, investment, or legal advice. We suggest that you discuss your particular situation with a qualified tax, legal, and investment advisor.
As a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), Partnership Wealth Management is committed to providing our clients with financial planning and wealth management services to help them make the most of their investments. At Partnership Wealth Management, we have a long history of working with the LGBT community. Among the many services we offer are financial planning and estate planning strategies for gay and lesbian couples. Financial planning is an important part of preparing for the future; contact us today to get started: www.partnershipwm.com.