One of the reasons couples choose to forgo marriage is because they want to retain their autonomy. But the problem is, if you are not careful, you may find that over time you become far more tied to your partner than you had planned. This is all well and good if the two of you are getting along. But what happens if things don't work out and your financial entanglements prevent you from making a clean break?
Even if your relationship with your live-in partner could not be better, be aware that things can change over time. Any number of unforeseeable factors could contribute to a parting of the ways. And if this happens, you want to make the break as clean as possible and you want to retain that which belongs to you.
While married couples may enjoy a variety of financial benefits regarding tax breaks and spousal Social Security benefits, there are couples who prefer to remain unmarried while cohabiting. There are any number or reasons for foregoing the rings, the vows and the marriage license, but there is no avoiding most of the same economic realities experienced by married couples.
Perhaps when you first moved in with your partner, it was intended as a trial run to see if you were compatible. Or maybe you never had designs on marriage but wanted to share your lives together. But whatever the circumstance, you and your partner cohabited for years without ever creating a formal legal agreement that would establish your rights if the relationship were to end.
So you've met someone you really like, and things are going extremely well. In fact, the two of you are thinking of taking your relationship to the next level by living together. This is a very common practice. Many couples believe that by foregoing the formality of getting married, they will sidestep certain legal hassles if they should choose to go their separate ways.
When an unmarried couple decides to live together, it can be a very happy moment for the couple and could ultimately bring them closer. However, if the couple eventually splits, the resulting dispute of assets could be extremely problematic. Unless the couple kept detailed records of which assets belonged to whom, the split can devolve into an argument of one person's word against the other. In extreme circumstances, people may take matters into their own hands.
There are a growing number of unmarried couples cohabitating in modern America, and regardless of how you may feel about the topic, the legal ramifications of such commingling are very significant. If unmarried couples do not approach their cohabitation correctly, the fallout if the couple eventually breaks up could have extremely negative side effects on both parties. It may be tempting to act as if you are married, but until you actually tie the knot, such behavior can be a detriment.
In a time when more and more people are living together for extended periods of time before marriage, the legal rights of each person in the relationship are becoming more important to understand and determine. A larger portion of the population is experiencing issues that used to be reserved only for a few people, and the complexities are starting to affect many. For instance, did you know that the way you and your significant other decide to own property can affect you later on?
If you have ever known a friend or family member that has gone through a divorce, you probably know just how difficult it can be to reach an agreement when it comes to asset division. Even with legal assistance and mediation, it can take couples weeks or months of deliberation and litigation before any kind of agreement is reached. What is perhaps most alarming about this is that the laws surrounding marital property and asset division are quite clear. For unmarried couples, such an issue can be even more demanding.
If you and your significant other live together, you will likely amass a great deal of property together. Anything from a bed or a sofa to a television or even a kitchen utensil could become the source of a heated property dispute in the event that you and your significant other ever break up. This is because, legally, it is extremely difficult to determine who owns what in the relationship, especially if the couple did not keep records or an agreement.