Unmarried couples are choosing to live together without getting married at a higher and higher rate. While this is a great choice for many couples and families, it also creates a situation where the legal rights of individuals may not be protected in the case of a break-up or other complicating situation. When married couples go through a divorce, they are granted certain legal rights when it comes to division of marital property, alimony and spousal support, child custody, and child support. Unmarried couples simply do not have the same legal stature in New Jersey. However, cohabitation agreements are a great way to give unmarried couples many of the same legal rights as married couples during the relationship and in the case of a separation.
Today, our cohabitation agreement lawyers will be identifying how cohabitation agreements protect unmarried couples, what terms are able to be included, and why living together without a cohabitation agreement can pose a major risk.
Cohabitation Agreements Protect Unmarried Couples in Bergen County, NJ
Our Bergen County cohabitation agreement attorneys frequently hear “we didn’t want to get married because we want to retain our independence” or “we wanted to keep things simple”. Both of these ideas make sense in theory, but they do not tell the whole story. For unmarried couples who live together and jointly own property like a family home, major appliances, or even the family pet, the legal scenario in the event of a break-up is actually far more complicated than a traditional divorce in many cases.
Thankfully, it is possible to work out many of these issues preemptively through a successful cohabitation agreement. It is also important to understand that cohabitation agreements are not just meant to protect your rights in the case of a separation, they may also be used to assign legal rights during the relationship which would normally be reserved for married couples such as power of attorney or the ability to make major medical decisions.
Paramus Cohabitation Agreement Lawyers Include Useful Topics
Let’s say you and your partner have decided to enter a cohabitation agreement, now what? First, it is vital that you and your partner understand New Jersey regulations which govern how non-marital agreements must be signed. We highly recommend working with a Paramus non-marital agreement to ensure your agreement is legal and enforceable. The other primary issue is deciding what terms to include and what to omit. These agreements allow a large level of flexibility, but commonly include:
- Laying out your financial assets and discussing how they would be divided in the case of a separation. Common disputes include unmarried couples who live together in a family home which is owned by just one partner, but both partners are financially contributing
- Child custody and child support may be factored into a cohabitation agreement so long as your terms are in the present, and not considerations for the future
- Assigning power of attorney and other legal rights to your partner
- Giving your partner the right to inherit your assets in the event of your death (this can include life assurance, becoming an executor, becoming a benefactor, and more)
- Alimony, which may be considered palimony for non-married couples
Considering a Cohabitation Agreement? Contact our Hackensack Unmarried Couples’ Rights Attorneys Today
At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience helping local couples draft enforceable cohabitation agreements across Bergen County towns including Fort Lee, Paramus, Hackensack, Ridgewood, Teaneck, and all of Northern New Jersey. Our firm practices exclusively divorce and family law, allowing our attorneys to focus on the legal issues which matter most to our clients and their families. We take pride in handling the legal complexities of the family law process so you and your family can move on with your lives. We are led by partners who have been distinguished as Certified Matrimonial Law Attorneys by the New Jersey Supreme Court, an honor granted to only two percent of practicing lawyers in our state.