Unlike with married couples, property rights are not granted the same legal protections when they are owned by an unmarried couple. As a result, a cohabitation property agreement is created to identify precisely who owns what and direct how the property will be distributed if or when the couple ever decides to separate.
Without a cohabitation agreement, a separating couple could face several months or even years of expensive and time-consuming legal battles. Therefore, it is always recommended that an unmarried couple create their cohabitation agreement while their relationship is sound.
Some of the types of issues that can be dealt with in a Cohabitation Agreement include:
- Distribution of property upon the breakup of the relationship
- Obligation to contribute to the support of the household or, upon dissolution of the relationship, to pay financial support (which is known as maintenance or alimony in the marital context)
- Payment of debts – each partner’s responsibilities
- Disposition of the residence upon the breakup of the relationship
- Support, custody, or visitation rights for minor children (although non-binding)
- Surviving party’s right to inherit property and receive pension benefits, life insurance, and other benefits
- Health insurance coverage
- Right to serve as guardian/conservator in the event of incapacitation
- Right to make medical decisions (like conferred by a Health Care Proxy Document)
- Lifestyle provisions
- Definition of “termination of relationship”
- Method for resolving disputes, such as arbitration or mediation
Mediation Can Help You Create a Fair Cohabitation Agreement With Less Stress
When couples are put in the position of having to plan for the dispersing their property in the event of a separation, emotions usually run high and feelings can often get hurt. It can put a strain on even the strongest relationship.
Mediation is a proven tool that can help couples reach a fair resolution that each party can be satisfied with. With an experienced mediator guiding the process, the couple can communicate their thoughts and concerns openly and challenges can be met with greater understanding, thus significantly reducing the feelings of anger, resentment, and anxiety that are so commonly associated with separations.
If you are looking for a healthier resolution for you and your partner, contact Mediation Professionals of Long Island. We can help you and your partner create a fair and equitable cohabitation property agreement that you can both agree on.
Speak with a Divorce Mediation Specialist
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