Blog
Call for a free initial consultation
Law Offices of Benita Ventresca408-395-8822
20 S. Santa Cruz Ave., Suite 212, Los Gatos, CA 95030
Offering Limited Scope Service
Mediation and Litigation
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in cohabitation agreement

Santa Clara County cohabitation agreement lawyerMany Californians have a positive, do-it-yourself attitude. However, there are some areas in life where expert assistance is necessary, and drafting a cohabitation agreement is one of them. Cohabitation agreements can be used to protect the rights of unmarried couples, including in the event the couple splits up. There are many “fill in the blank” cohabitation agreement forms floating around on the internet, and some people might be tempted to use one in hopes of minimizing legal costs.

Although married spouses have many rights under the law, unmarried couples do not have these same rights. A cohabitation agreement can be crucial to ensure that both partners will avoid difficulties and disputes in the case of a breakup, so it absolutely must be thorough and complete. Some reasons why using an online cohabitation agreement template may not be the best idea include:

You Might Forget Something in Your Agreement

Cohabitation agreements cover a variety of issues, including:

...

Santa Clara County cohabitation agreement attorneyStatistics show that more and more couples are delaying marriage or deciding to live together without getting married; in fact, the percentage of adults who have lived with a romantic partner is not only greater than those who have been married, it is the fastest-growing “family type.”

Still, California – like most states – does not recognize common law marriage (i.e. an arrangement where a couple lives together in a relationship similar to being married without actually getting a marriage license), which means that cohabiting couples do not have the same legal rights as married couples. As a result, if an unmarried couple eventually separates, they may encounter costly disputes. To avoid this type of situation, a couple may choose to create a cohabitation agreement, which is similar to a premarital agreement. These agreements can compensate for a lack of protection provided by state law by addressing the following issues:

Property Division

When it comes to the division of property for cohabiting adults, only assets that are in both parties’ names will be considered joint assets. Disputes can arise if one party claims that an asset was purchased using joint assets, one party purchased an asset with the understanding that it belonged to both parties, or one party who does not own the home where the couple lives claims that they still own a share of the equity in the home. 

...

Los Gatos spousal support lawyer for palimonyMany long-term romantic couples choose to marry, but some decide that marriage is not the right decision while nonetheless choosing to move in together and share many aspects of their lives and finances. When an unmarried, cohabiting couple ends their relationship, one partner may sometimes feel that the other should make “palimony” payments, but it can often be difficult to determine whether there are legal grounds to seek this type of financial support.

What Is Palimony?

“Palimony” is a term commonly used for the equivalent of spousal support or alimony payments between former partners who have never been married. Unlike for divorced couples, California law does not explicitly provide a means for unmarried partners to seek support payments, but it may still be possible to receive palimony if you and your partner had previously established a legally binding cohabitation agreement.

Including Palimony in Your Cohabitation Agreement

At any point while you are cohabiting with your partner, you can decide together to establish a cohabitation agreement, which can include a provision for support payments in the event that the relationship ends. You may decide to model your palimony agreement based on the method for determining spousal support in a California divorce, which takes into consideration:

...

Los Gatos cohabitation agreement attorneyMany people choose to live with a romantic partner on a long-term basis without becoming legally married. They may look and act like a married couple. They may share bank accounts, co-own property, and even have children together. However, when cohabiting couples in California separate—whether due to a breakup, death, or disability—they can run into serious difficulties, because California law does not grant cohabiting couples the same rights and responsibilities that are afforded to legally married couples. Unmarried couples can, however, sign a contract called a cohabitation agreement (also known as a “no-nup”), which is similar to a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement signed by couples who do marry.

When Should I Consider a California Cohabitation Agreement?

If you and your partner both work and contribute fairly toward your household expenses but otherwise keep your finances separate, you may not see the need for a cohabitation agreement. However, over time, your circumstances might change, and your finances may become more intermingled. There are several situations in which a cohabitation agreement can be of significant benefit to you, such as:

  • You are the primary home-manager while your partner is the primary income-earner. In this situation, you could be sacrificing the opportunity to build your own career and income potential. If your relationship ends suddenly, you could find yourself in dire financial straits until you can find a job and rebuild your career. A cohabitation agreement can be written to provide protection in this scenario. For example, your partner could agree to pay you the equivalent of spousal support for some period of time after a break-up or provide you with a lump sum payment or inheritance in the case of their death.
  • You are the primary income-earner while your partner is working to obtain an advanced degree. Suppose that you agree to work and support your partner financially while he or she completes law school or medical school, with the expectation that you will both benefit financially in the future. In a cohabitation agreement, your partner could agree to reimburse you for that support if your relationship ends within a certain timeframe.
  • You and your partner buy a home together. A cohabitation agreement can document how much each partner shall contribute to the down payment, mortgage payments, and other costs. It can also define a process for managing or selling the property in the event that your relationship ends for any reason. 
  • You have significant assets that you want to protect. A cohabitation agreement can spell out ownership of assets acquired before and during the relationship. This can prevent disputes in the event of a hostile breakup. The agreement can also specify what you want your partner to inherit in the event of your death.

Contact an Experienced Los Gatos Family Law Attorney

You can enter into a cohabitation agreement at any time, even if you have already been living together for years. To make sure the terms of your agreement are clearly understood and legally enforceable, work with an experienced Los Gatos, CA cohabitation agreements lawyer. At the Law Offices of Benita Ventresca, we will help you understand the legal issues that your agreement should address and make sure that your unique needs are met. Contact us at 408-395-8822 for a free initial consultation.

...

California family lawyerIn the course of American cultural discourse, one becomes familiar with the concept of a premarital agreement. Strangely, however, there is less familiarity with two other relationship-related agreements: 1) postnuptial agreements, and 2) cohabitation agreements. This is especially the case with regard to the latter, which pertains to unmarried couples. If you are unmarried but living with your partner, it may be wise to consider entering into a written cohabitation agreement to make clear the present and future support intended or not intended. In creating a legally effective California cohabitation agreement, rely on an experienced Saratoga family law attorney.

Specifying Support and Separate Property in a Cohabitation Agreement

In modern America, some couples commit to one another while explicitly choosing to remain apart from the institution of marriage. Sometimes this decision is entwined with a rejection of the patriarchy. Other times, the choice is intuitive – personal rather than political. When a union not formalized through marriage dissolves, however, the division of the union’s economic community – its assets and liabilities – can become contentious and complex.

...
Google Map Marker

Law Offices of Benita Ventresca

20 S. Santa Cruz Ave., Suite 212
Los Gatos, CA 95030

Phone Icon

Call us for a free initial consultation

408-395-8822
FBK TWT

Conveniently located in downtown los gatos and
close to highway 280, 85 & 880

FREEVALETPARKING

Back to Top