Do's and Don'ts for Cohabitation

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What does “Cohabitation” Mean?

Cohabitation means that two persons are living together in the same residence.  In most cases, the persons are an unmarried couple.  In some cases, cohabitation may refer to a couple that has registered under the civil union or domestic partnership laws of the state of residence. 

However, in most cases, the simple act of cohabitation does not provide each individual partner with protection regarding their property and assets.  State family and property laws generally treat cohabitating partners as individuals for legal purposes. 

What are Some Tips for Cohabitation?

Perhaps the single most important thing that a couple can do before they begin cohabitation is to sign a cohabitation agreement.  This is basically a contract stating the terms of the cohabitation, as well as the property rights for the individuals in relation to each other.  Without a cohabitation agreement, each partner will be responsible for their own property, money, and debts.

Some “Do’s” for cohabitation include:

There are also some things that you shouldn’t do if you will be entering into a cohabitation arrangement.  Some cohabitation “Don’ts” can include:

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Cohabitation Arrangement?

Again, the laws governing cohabitation arrangements will vary in each state.  Be sure to check your local laws or consult with an attorney if you need help with a cohabitation arrangement.  In many cases, termination of a cohabitation arrangement can lead to a lawsuit, especially if the partners failed to create a cohabitation agreement.  An experienced family lawyer can help defend your interests in court if necessary.   

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Last Modified: 09-13-2011 04:34 PM PDT

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