Many couples would prefer not to get married for one reason or another, and others simply do not believe in marriage. Whatever your case may be, you are most likely aware that marriage generally provides couples with a higher degree of security. This is why plenty of non-married couples seek the same rights and protections a marriage can offer while still remaining unmarried. Fortunately, through non-marital agreements–also known as cohabitation agreements–they can! If you and your partner believe you would like to draft a non-marital agreement, here are some of the questions you may have:
What are the benefits of a non-marital agreement?
While the benefits largely have to do with sharing assets and increasing influence in each other’s life decisions, a non-marital agreement may also benefit a couple who is ready to end their relationship. Similar to a prenuptial agreement, a non-marital agreement may help protect the individual properties of both parties in the relationship. Additionally, it may also determine which joint or individually-owned assets should be divided, and how, if the couple was to end their relationship. Here are some of the other aspects that may be addressed in a non-marital agreement:
- Giving power of attorney to one or both parties
- Allowing each party the right to make advanced health care directive decisions in the event of an emergency
- Giving each party the ability to be involved in health care decisions regarding their partner
- Allowing the parties to add their partner to a health or life insurance policy
How do I know my non-marital agreement is valid?
In order for a non-marital agreement to be considered valid and enforceable, it must meet certain qualifications. They are as follows:
- Both parties must be given a reasonable amount of time to consider the implications of entering into the cohabitation agreement before signing
- Any assets mentioned in the cohabitation agreement need to be fully disclosed and accurately valued
- There must be no evidence of manipulation, coercion, or threat by either of the parties against the other in order to influence them to sign the agreement
- Each party entering into the agreement retains separate legal counsel or expressly waives their right to counsel in writing
You must ensure that you have fully disclosed all financial assets. If it is determined that you have withheld financial information or did not accurately value certain financial information, there is a good chance your agreement will be considered invalid by the courts.
Contact our experienced New Jersey firm
The Partners at Townsend Tomaio & Newmark lead the firm practicing Family and Divorce Law exclusively. All Partners have been honored by their inclusion in the New Jersey Monthly Super Lawyers List for several years. They lead the boutique firm in handling custody, support, alimony, divorce, and domestic violence cases across Northern, New Jersey.