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AAML Survey Finds Cohabitation Agreements are Increasing

By Sheryl Rentz on February 16, 2011

According to The Detroit Free Press, a survey was recently conducted that found many unmarried couples who live together are increasingly deciding to sign a cohabitation agreement to give them protection should their relationship end.

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) is a grouping of approximately 1,600 divorce attorneys and conducted the survey amongst its members. The survey discovered about 48 percent have seen a rise in the number of couples who are “duking it out in court” during the past five years. Of those, about 39 percent report an increase in the number of couples who chose to have a cohabitation agreement if their arrangement is outside of legally recognized marriages.

Ken Altshuler, the president-elect of AAML, says the agreements are “on the cutting edge of relationships today,” as many couples are now deciding not to marry or are entering into civil unions.

A cohabitation agreement is similar to a premarital agreement, which some couples chose to create before their marriage to ensure their property and assets are divided according to their wishes if they divorce. A cohabitation agreement offers protection for unmarried heterosexual couples or same-sex couples who reside together in the event their relationship ends. Generally, a cohabitation agreement allows an unmarried couple to regulate issues such as child custody, property arrangements, financial support, and debts if their cohabitation breaks down. Additionally, the agreement offers some protection from litigation. Especially relevant during these difficult economic times, a cohabitation agreement can help protect an individual against payment of their partner’s debt.

While it may be uncomfortable for you to discuss whether you and your future spouse or partner should create a cohabitation or premarital agreement, doing so can save you money and time in the future if your relationship ceases. The Philadelphia family law attorneys at The Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz can help you draft a premarital agreement that is fair and satisfies both you and your future spouse. To learn more about premarital agreements in PA, call 610-645-0100 today.

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