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Cohabitation agreements are helpful for unwed couples

8549583_S.jpgSo 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.

However, avoiding marriage does not guarantee avoiding legal issues upon splitting up. It is still possible for unmarried couples to end up in court in a dispute over asset division. So, with that in mind, there are some very important things you may want to consider doing prior to moving your belongings into a shared space with your new partner. First, you want to have an honest discussion that will help ensure that you are on the same page regarding financial matters.

While talking is important, it can still leave room for misunderstandings. Many couples are discovering the benefits of having a cohabitation agreement. A cohabitation agreement can allow a couple to create a mutual understanding of their individual and shared financial responsibilities. Further, by putting things in writing, both parties are able to give themselves certain protections if the relationship comes to an end.

When crafting the agreement, it is very important that both parties are forthcoming regarding finances, debts and assets. You also want the agreement to specifically detail the intentions and obligations of both parties. As such, you want the agreement to contain clear, unambiguous language so as to limit the possibility of disputes in the future.

Living with someone can be a wonderful experience, but you also need to protect your own interests. An Illinois family law attorney who has experience dealing with the property and asset issues of unmarried couples could help you draw up a cohabitation agreement that sets you and your partner on a more secure path as you start your journey together.

Source: Huffington Post, "Avoiding a Costly Cohabitation 'Divorce'," Joslin Davis, June 2, 2016

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