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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:

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Los Gatos, CA property division lawyerOne of the most challenging aspects of a divorce is the division of property between you and your spouse. Disagreements often arise over who will retain certain assets and debts, and splitting things up may put a strain on both of your finances. However, if you and your spouse are open to cooperation, you can reduce stress over the division of assets and take control by creating an agreement that works for both of you.

How Is Marital Property Divided in a California Divorce?

In California, assets and debts acquired by either spouse during the marriage are almost always considered community property, meaning they are jointly owned by the two of you. In a divorce, the court will ensure that community property is divided roughly equally between the spouses, and because divorce is considered no-fault in California, neither spouse’s behavior leading to the divorce will likely impact the distribution.

If you leave the decisions about property division entirely up to the court, the result will likely be financially equitable, but it may not account for each partner’s specific preferences. If you wish to have more control over the decision, you and your spouse should attempt to reach an agreement cooperatively. A skilled divorce mediation attorney can help guide your negotiations to minimize conflict and ensure that both of your interests are accounted for.

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Los Gatos, CA divorce attorney for hidden assetsGetting a divorce can be a challenging time in your life. The process of permanently separating from your spouse is difficult enough, but addressing complex matters related to marital assets and child custody can make things even more grueling. While many divorces can be resolved amicably (including through divorce mediation), some spouses will look to do anything and everything they can to spite their former partner during divorce proceedings. One of the most common forms of foul play that can occur during divorce is hiding assets. If you believe that your spouse is attempting to conceal marital property, you will want to work with a family law attorney to determine your options. 

What Are Hidden Assets? 

In the state of California, all assets owned by a married couple are considered community property. In other words, any property accumulated during a marriage belongs to both spouses, barring a prenuptial agreement that states otherwise. If a spouse attempts to devalue an asset or conceal property from their spouse and the court, this is known as hiding assets. 

Hidden assets can come in various forms, but they are rarely as simple as concealing a physical item in a place where the other spouse cannot find it. Some of the most common forms of hidden assets include intentionally avoiding reporting income through tax returns or financial statements, setting up a secret bank account (which may be done through the use of a child’s social security number), or requesting that an employer delay paying wages and bonuses until after the divorce process is finalized. 

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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.

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California divorce lawyerIn many cases of divorce in California, it is possible for divorcing spouses to avoid litigation and retain control over decision-making with regard to the division of marital property and establishing of parenting time with children. In some instances, however, it is not possible to reach a fair and mutually agreeable resolution, whether because of anger, resentment, greed, or other conflict-escalating emotions.

In high-asset divorces, particularly, there may disagreements over the division of marital property. In a California divorce, division must abide by the state’s community property law, which determines what constitutes the “marital economic community” in a marriage. If your soon-to-be ex-spouse is arguing for unfair division of marital property, claiming as separate property what is, in fact, the community property of the marriage, turn to an experienced Sunnyvale divorce attorney.

California Is One of Nine Community Property Law States

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