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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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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. 

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Lost Gatos, CA prenuptial agreement attorney

Every single year, thousands of couples in the state of California make the difficult decision to file for divorce. While some divorces can be fairly amicable, the divorce process almost always comes with complications. In some cases, the development of a prenuptial agreement can save you time, money, and disputes down the road. Below, we will explain the benefits of a prenuptial agreement, and why it may be wise for you to speak to your significant other regarding your finances prior to marriage. 

Why You Should Consider a Prenuptial Agreement 

Often called a prenup for short, a prenuptial agreement is a written contract developed by two people prior to their marriage. The agreement will dictate how property and assets will be divided in the event of a divorce. While asking your future spouse to sign a prenuptial agreement may be a difficult conversation, the agreement can ensure your financial security and save you from the possibility of a contentious divorce. 

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Los Gatos prenup attorneyHaving a conversation with your soon-to-be spouse regarding the possibility of divorce might seem like a poor way to kick off your life together. However, discussing the potential end of your relationship and making decisions ahead of time can not only help you avoid uncertainty and conflict in the future, but it can actually strengthen your relationship and help you understand the issues that are important to both of you. In many situations, a prenuptial agreement can be critical to ensure that a potential divorce does not compromise your financial well-being. If you are considering signing a prenup before getting married, you should work with an attorney to ensure your agreement will protect your rights and meet your needs.

What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?

Before looking into the possibility of establishing a prenuptial agreement, it is important to understand what this type of agreement actually entails. In short, a prenuptial agreement is a document that establishes how certain matters will be handled in the event that a couple’s marriage ends through divorce or death. A prenup can decide how community property (assets and debts acquired by a couple during their marriage) will be divided, and it can determine how spousal support payments will be structured. However, a prenuptial agreement will not cover issues such as child custody or child support

Why a Prenuptial Agreement May Be Necessary

A prenuptial agreement may not be necessary for everyone, but it can provide essential protections for people in certain situations. If you have children from a previous marriage, your prenup can establish how you want them to be financially taken care of in the case of death or a divorce. If you own a successful business, or if you earn a higher amount of income than your partners, a prenuptial agreement can establish your separate assets and can explicitly describe how community property will be divided. If your future spouse has accumulated large debts, a prenup can state that they alone will be responsible for these liabilities in the event of a divorce. 

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Los Gatos, CA divorce lawyer grounds for dissolution of marriageChoosing to end your marriage is never an emotionally easy process. Unfortunately, if you are unaware of the divorce laws in your state, the logistical process of dissolving your marriage can be difficult as well. Here in the state of California, you will want to understand the requirements that must be met and the process you will need to follow. If you are considering filing for divorce, you will want to seek out the guidance of an experienced family law attorney. 

Filing For Divorce 

In order to file for divorce in California, you must first make sure that you are eligible to do so. One of the simplest issues that can arise in California divorces is the requirement that one of the parties must be a California resident for a minimum of six months, and one party must have lived in the county where the divorce will be filed for at least three months. Once those residency requirements have been met, either spouse can file a petition for divorce at their local court. 

In many states, a person who files for divorce must cite certain “grounds,” or reasons that they wish to dissolve their marriage. Depending on state laws, these may include infidelity, drug or alcohol abuse, a felony conviction, or one spouse infecting the other with a sexually transmitted disease. The state of California, however, recognizes what is called “no fault” divorce. This means that spouses may file for divorce on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences,” and they simply need to state that these differences have caused an irremediable breakdown of the marriage. The only other grounds for divorce recognized in California are a permanent legal incapacity by one spouse to make decisions. In these cases, a spouse must provide proof of permanent physical or mental impairment or disability, including testimony from a medical or psychiatric professional.

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