What is Cohabitation?
Cohabitation occurs when an unmarried couple decides to live together. Couples make this decision for a variety of reasons – for financial reasons, to test their compatibility before marriage, etc. Additionally, gay or lesbian couples may choose to cohabitate because they cannot be legally married and others believe that marriage is unnecessary. The number of couples that decided to cohabitate increased by 400% between 1970 and 1990. With the increase of cohabitation came an influx of potential legal complications as well. Generally speaking, the law addresses married couples more than it deals with unmarried couples. For example, unmarried couples have little guidance related to property division, debt division, survivorship, and other benefits. However, unmarried couples can address these issues in written form through a cohabitation agreement. This type of agreement is similar to a prenuptial agreement and helps them resolve future legal issues before they become a serious issue.
Austin Family Lawyer
Many couples live together happily for many years and chose to remain unmarried. You and your partner most likely have purchased furniture together, leased a home together, and maybe even co-signed a loan. Despite the fact that you never signed a marriage license or participated in a wedding ceremony, you may be considered to be married under Texas family law.This can have important consequences in the event that the relationship comes to an end. You should come to Menduni Martindill, PLLC, where an Austin divorce attorney from our team will consult with you about your situation and help you find a strategy for protecting your rights.
Why should I obtain a cohabitation agreement?
If you and your partner decided to live together, you probably don't want to think about ending your relationship. Like a prenuptial agreement, a cohabitation agreement doesn't mean that your relationship will fail; it works as a safeguard to protect you and your partner from unnecessary legal complications in the future. In fact, talking about the issues in your cohabitating agreement can develop a greater sense of trust and honesty in your relationship. Cohabitation agreements may address the following concerns:
- Asset division
- Property rights
- Financial support
Your cohabitation agreement will clearly delineate you and your partner's financial obligations and commitments. In the event that your relationship ends, you and your partner can avoid complications by being prepared. To learn more about cohabitation issues or to see what our Austin family lawyers can do for you, fill out our online case evaluation form.
What does common law say?
State law holds that you and your partner will enter into a common law marriage if you and your spouse agree to be married and live together in Texas. The following can be indicative of this situation: if you ever introduced your partner as your spouse, listed each other as spouse on an insurance policy or signed a lease as a married couple, this may be proof to support the existence of a common law marriage. You will not be able to end the marriage without a legal divorce, which will include provisions for child custody, alimony and equitable distribution of assets and liabilities. Our knowledgeable legal team of Austin divorce lawyers can assist you in legal issues involving cohabitation and common law marriage. Contact us today!