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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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Los Gatos, CA high conflict divorce lawyerWhile divorce is rarely an easy process, it can become especially challenging if one spouse begins to act in a hostile manner. If your spouse is attempting to bully or intimidate you into meeting their demands or behaving in a way that increases conflict and makes the divorce process more difficult, you may feel helpless or unsure about how to respond. Fortunately, you can take steps to protect your rights and resolve disputes as smoothly and effectively as possible. By working with an experienced family law attorney, you can be prepared to address your concerns and reach a positive resolution to your divorce case.

Steps You Can Take During a Hostile Divorce 

First and foremost, you will want to be sure you and your family are safe from harm. If your spouse has made any threats against you, your children, or other family members, or if they have behaved in a way that has caused you to fear for your safety, you should speak to your attorney about your options for obtaining an order of protection. An emergency order of protection can be obtained at a court hearing, even if your spouse is not present, and it can prevent your spouse from committing any further acts of abuse or harassment while prohibiting them from contacting you or entering a shared residence. The court can then determine whether long-term protections will need to be put in place throughout the divorce process and beyond.

As you proceed with the divorce process, you may find that hostility by your spouse has made it difficult or impossible to speak with them and work together to resolve your outstanding issues. In these cases, it may be best to avoid contacting them directly, and mediation may not be beneficial, especially if they are not willing to work together with you to reach compromises about divorce-related concerns. Instead, you can communicate with your spouse and their lawyer through your own attorney and work to reach a settlement or resolve disputes in the courtroom.

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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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Posted on in Divorce

Los Gatos divorce mediation lawyerWhen you choose to get a divorce, that decision can result in a variety of challenges for the whole family. Not only will you have to grapple with the legal and practical issues involved in ending your marriage, but your children have to accept that you and your ex-spouse will no longer be living together or married to each other. The divorce process can be incredibly stressful for children. Litigating a divorce in the courtroom can not only increase the level of conflict between spouses, but it may also lead to potentially frightening court appearances for children. Fortunately, divorce mediation is an alternative method of resolving divorce issues, and it can benefit the entire family. 

Mediation and Children 

During the mediation process, you and your ex-spouse will work with a third-party mediator to talk through the issues surrounding your divorce and reach a settlement that you can both be satisfied with. This process can be incredibly beneficial in resolving matters related to child custody. These benefits include: 

  • The Child’s Voice Matters: Mediation will give you and your spouse complete control over the final decisions made throughout the divorce process. In cases involving child custody, this means that your child’s wishes can be communicated easily and can be taken into consideration. You want what is best for your children, and mediation provides you with a greater opportunity to address their wishes and ensure that the two of you will be able to meet their needs. 

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Law Offices of Benita Ventresca

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

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