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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 prenuptial and postnuptial agreement attorneyMany people assume that they do not need a premarital or postnuptial agreement in place, because those types of arrangements are only for wealthy individuals who have been previously married. Others may believe that bringing up the topic of a marital agreement with their fiancé or spouse will lead to distrust. However, these myths could not be further from the truth. In fact, these agreements can help provide a couple with peace of mind, and they can establish financial expectations that will help couples avoid disagreements later on. Many couples also find that simply sitting down and discussing certain issues is a helpful process that fosters communication about money and provides a path toward a healthier financial life.

In addition, statistics show that millennials are waiting longer to get married, which means that they are bringing more assets into their marriages, including bank and investment accounts, real estate, savings accounts, stock options, retirement savings such as 401(k) accounts, etc. These couples may also bring in student loan debt and the introduction of other complex issues, such as pet custody and the disposition of frozen embryos upon divorce. As a result, there has been a sharp uptick in the number of requests for “prenups” in recent years. However, these agreements can be challenged in court if certain mistakes are made and they are improperly drafted without the assistance of an experienced attorney. Some of the most important mistakes to avoid include:

Unfairness

First and foremost, marital agreements must be fair and in compliance with the law. Premarital and postnuptial agreements cannot unreasonably favor one party or place one spouse in an untenable financial position in the case of divorce. In addition, there are certain issues that cannot be addressed in a marital agreement. For example, a prenup cannot make decisions about child support, because this is a legal obligation that is determined at the time of a divorce or separation based on what is in a child’s best interests. 

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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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Posted on in Divorce

Los Gatos divorce mediation lawyerWhile the divorce process can be a challenging experience for both parties, the end of your marriage does represent an opportunity to move forward in your life. Recognizing this, many couples will look to complete the divorce process as quickly as possible. In the state of California, the court requires a six month waiting period prior to the dissolution of a marriage. While this waiting period will hold true regardless of how you pursue your divorce, there are a number of ways in which you can simplify the divorce process and alleviate the stress of the dissolution. 

Understanding Divorce in California

In the state of California, the divorce process begins with one spouse filing for a petition for divorce. It is important to note that in order to file for divorce in California, a person must reside in the state for a minimum of six months, and they must be a resident of the county in which they are filing for a minimum of three months. According to California law, a minimum of six months must pass between the date the other spouse is served with the petition and the date in which the divorce decree or judgment is entered in court. 

Strategies for a Faster Divorce Process

While the six month waiting period is required in all California divorces, it may be possible to simplify the divorce process and ensure that all issues will be addressed by the end of this period. One way of doing this is through jointly filing for a summary dissolution. In order to qualify for a summary dissolution, spouses must meet a number of criteria. The duration of the marriage must be five years or less, the spouses must have no children together, and both spouses must sign an agreement that specifies how community property will be divided and states that neither party will receive spousal support

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Santa Clara County child support lawyerThe divorce process can be messy, especially when children are involved. When splitting up with your spouse, you will need to address a variety of issues related to child custody, including how you will share the responsibility to make decisions for your children and how your children will divide their time between your homes. In many cases, one parent will be required to pay child support to the other to ensure that children’s ongoing needs are met. Divorcing parents should be sure to understand how the amount of child support payments will be determined.

How Child Support Is Calculated 

Under California’s divorce laws, the amount of child support payments is determined using a complex equation that includes factors such as the net monthly disposable income of both parents and the amount of time children will spend with each parent. This equation is meant to provide a level of consistency in child support calculations and to guarantee a minimum level of support for the child. 

In some cases, a judge may decide to deviate from the child support guidelines when determining the amount of payments a parent should make. Situations where this may be necessary include cases where one parent has an uncommonly high income, both parents have a significant amount of parenting time but one’s income is significantly lower than the other’s, or a child has special needs and requires additional financial support. 

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