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Understanding Non-Marital Agreements

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What is a Non-Marital Agreement?

Non-marital agreements are contracts that set up property rights for unmarried couples. Non-marital agreements give unmarried couples similar rules governing property rights that married couples establish in premarital agreements.  Non-marital agreements set forth how money, property and debt among other things will be handled during and even after the relationship.

Why Would I Want to Make a Non-Marital Agreement?

If you and your partner are living together or plan on buying property that you will share, but do not plan on getting married any time soon, a non-marital agreement will establish who owns what and how you will deal with the financial aspect of your relationship. A non-marital agreement will also help you divide your property in the case of a breakup or death. A non-marital agreement can also establish how monthly bills and income will be divided during the relationship.
While planning about what will happen if your relationship ends may seem pessimistic or depressing, a non-marital agreement can help you in a number of ways:

  • Share of Property: You will know what you own if you and your partner are sharing property. This is especially important if you and your partner purchase a home together.
  • Division of Property: It will be easier to divide the property in the case of a break-up or death.
  • Creates a Plan: You may strengthen your relationship with your partner by encouraging communication over the financial aspects of your relationship.
  • Debt Division: You may create a contract that specifies who pays for what during and after the relationship

What Can Be Included in a Non-Marital Agreement?

Non-marital agreements mainly need to have information on how property, money, and debt will be divided between the unmarried couples. Some of the terms that can be included in a non-marital agreement may included: 

  • Property Acquired During the Relationship: Determine how property acquired during the relationship should be treated and who owns what % of the property.
  • Property Acquired through Gift or Inheritance: It should be written how gifts are handled while acquired during the relationship. Some couples split the gift and some couples keep it to their own as separate property.
  • Expenses: Create a plan on how expenses are paid for during the relationship
  • Separation or Death: How property will be distributed after separation or death among parties
  • Dispute Resolution: If a dispute were to rise, couples should define how they want to resolve it.
  • Property before Relationship: How property brought into the relationship should be treated
  • Responsibility of Debt: Your non-marital agreement can also indicate who is responsible for what bills and which party is obligated to which debt.

How Can a Lawyer Help Me with my Non-Marital Agreement?

If you want to create a non-marital agreement with a partner, an experienced family law attorney can help you prepare a non-marital agreement that meets both you and your partner’s needs. A lawyer will also be able to inform you of the prevailing law in your state regarding non-marital agreements.

Photo of page author Ki Akhbari

, LegalMatch Legal Writer and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 07-23-2018 08:40 PM PDT

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