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Are Cohabitation Agreements the New Prenup?

By Sheryl Rentz on August 24, 2017

interior of bedroom with canopy bed

Many of us can recall a time where we happily moved in with a significant other, thinking it would last forever.

However, when the relationship took a turn for the worse, you were stuck in a very sticky situation. Who moves out? Both paid for the furniture, so who gets it?

As more couples decide to live together before getting married, they are opting to sign cohabitation agreements to avoid the headache of a messy breakup.

What Is a Cohabitation Agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is a legal agreement reached between couples who have chosen to live together. It is similar to a prenuptial agreement, but it is meant to allow couples who are not married to fairly divide assets and property when they decide to part ways.

Please note that a cohabitation agreement does not carry the same weight as a marriage and it doesn’t offer the benefits that come with marriage. It also doesn’t officially bind you or your partner to fulfill the terms laid out in the agreement after the relationship is over.

Can a Cohabitation Agreement Affect Custody?

In Pennsylvania child custody cases, a judge will most likely award joint legal custody to both parents; however, one parent will be the “primary physical custodian.” This person will provide the “main home” for the child. With a cohabitation agreement in place, you can decide these matters between you and your partner instead of having the judge decide for you.

If you plan to live with and share assets with someone that you are not legally married to, it is important to have this agreement in place.

Since you are not married, that person is not obligated to give you any of his or her property in the event you split up. It doesn’t matter how long you have been together, or if you helped pay for it!

With a cohabitation agreement in place, the expectations of your relationship will be fully outlined, so you and your partner will know where you stand in the end. Contact the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C., at (610) 645-0100 for a free consultation.



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