Many couples choose to live together as opposed to marrying. This has been a rising trend over the years as more people choose to put off marriage until later in life or refrain from it altogether. So what happens when these couples acquire property, assets, and debts together and then break up? What happens should they have children? How will these essential and vital issues be handled? How will property and assets be divided? Who will be responsible for the debts they’ve acquired together?
Enter the cohabitation agreement. A cohabitation agreement addresses the above questions as well as any other concerns and needs of the individuals that relate to finances, property, house expenses, children, and the commingling of separate property. It can also include how they want to handle debts or business interests if those are also part of the relationship.
What Is Cohabitation?
Under Illinois law, cohabitation occurs when two people live together. It is a relationship that is “resident, continuing, and conjugal.” If you do not live with your significant other, you are not cohabiting. If you only occasionally live together, it is not cohabitation. Certain types of actions that the two of you engage in will demonstrate cohabitation to the courts, such as the commingling of income into shared bank accounts, going on vacations together, or naming each other as beneficiaries on insurance policies or in estate planning documents, such as in wills and trusts.
Cohabitation Agreements in Illinois
Cohabitation agreements could be compared to prenuptial agreements without the agreement to marry but with the agreement to cohabit. These agreements are like contracts that lay out the rights and responsibilities of both parties in relationship to their financial scene and parental roles during the term of the cohabitation. They can also outline how the property and debts will be divided should the relationship end or one of them passes away.
They can outline how the following will be handled:
- How property will be divided after a breakup
- How debts will be paid during and after a breakup
- How health insurance will be covered
- How parental responsibilities will be handled should they have children
The issue of property can include anything the couple accumulates from household goods to vehicles, real estate, investments, and even pets. However, should the relationship end, some issues will be required to be handled by the courts, such as child support and child visitation schedules. It is also important to know that cohabitation after one gets a divorce will be viewed by the courts as the receipt of financial support that can end alimony payments from one’s former spouse.
Any cohabitation agreement is designed to address the specifics of the couple involved. These can range from the joint ownership of real estate to wanting to name your partner as the executor of your will.
Dedicated Legal Assistance from the Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C.
If you need legal assistance in creating a cohabitation agreement or in any other family law matter, you can rely on the knowledge and competence you will find at our firm. Our legal team takes the time to get a full understanding of your situation so that an effective legal strategy can be devised to achieve your objectives. When it comes to family law, every situation is unique with its own set of circumstances and facts. Whether you are dealing with a divorce, cohabitation agreement, prenuptial agreement, or some other issue, we will work diligently to help you achieve the outcome you need and want.
Contact the Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C. at (312) 487-2795 to get started today.