Cohabitation among unmarried partners is becoming a more common living situation in today’s society. It’s important for couples that cohabitate to establish some legal agreement of how their household will be disbanded if the couple should decide to separate in the future. It is also important to remember that cohabitation is not the same as a common law marriage in Texas.
What is a cohabitation agreement for unmarried partners?
A cohabitation agreement is a legally binding document that outlines a plan for how to handle separating joint assets after an unmarried couple ends their relationship. These agreements used to be seen as only necessary for couples with high wealth or where one partner had a larger amount of wealth or assets than the other. Today, these agreements are being used by couples of all economic means as a way of protecting their interests.
There are many types of protections and even perks that can be written into a cohabitation agreement. Drafting this agreement is something you will want to do with your family law attorney who will be there to protect your best interests. For example, if you have a high salary and enter the relationship with many valuable assets and personal effects, you’ll want to ensure those assets along with your income are protected in the event of a break-up through successfully disputing property in divorce.
You can even stipulate daily living details such as the following.
- Who handles paying certain utilities.
- How jointly-purchased high-value items such as cars or property will be divided in the event the relationship is terminated.
- Penalties if a partner’s infidelity is the cause of the end of the relationship.
- A “signing bonus” to entice your partner to agree to the agreement if they are reluctant at the outset.
Ending a Cohabitating Relationship Without a Cohabitation Agreement
If you did not create a cohabitation agreement during your relationship, you might face difficulties separating your lives if you decide to split with your partner. First, because Texas is a community property state, a judge may consider you married under common law marriage laws. This means your partner would be entitled to a portion of your assets just as a husband or wife would be in a Texas divorce.
If your relationship ends without legal intervention, you still may have no recourse if your partner wants to drive off in the car for which you both co-signed. The effort takes to put together a standard cohabitation agreement is well worth the investment to protect your future.
Let The Texas Divorce Lawyer Protect Your Best Interests in a Cohabitation Relationship
The Texas Divorce Lawyer is here to answer your questions about what happens at the end of a cohabitation, common law marriage, and marriage in general. Don’t leave your future to chance when you have assets you want to protect, a cohabitation agreement for unmarried partners is an option for couples of all financial standings.
Contact The Texas Divorce Lawyer today to schedule a free consultation regarding your cohabitation agreement. 214-265-7630.