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Wheaton cohabitation agreement attorneysMany people might be apprehensive about getting married if their parents were divorced while others simply might not care about signing a marriage license. Therefore, many of today’s couples choose to live together or “cohabitate” without entering into a legal union. In 2016, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that unmarried couples do not have any legal rights to each other’s property if they separate. The end of a long-term relationship can be contentious, regardless if the couple had children together or not. Deciding who gets what when they split can be complicated, especially if the couple acquired a significant amount of property or assets during the relationship. This is why some couples consider drafting a cohabitation agreement.

What Does the Agreement Protect?

A cohabitation agreement can be drafted before or after two people decide to live together. This type of document typically addresses such issues as:

  • Each party’s contribution to household expenses;
  • Division of property in the case of a breakup;
  • Payment of mutual debts;
  • Health insurance coverage; and
  • Parental responsibilities if children are involved.

A cohabitation agreement is similar to a prenuptial agreement in some ways. It is basically a contract between two consenting adults that addresses how to commingle their finances and distribute their assets if the relationship ends. This can prevent conflict in the future, especially if they cannot agree on how to divide the property or debt fairly. Property can include a house, furniture, artwork, vehicles, and more. It is important to know that a cohabitation agreement cannot order child support or parenting time. Those issues must be determined by a court.

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