Welcome back and thanks for joining us again for this discussion on the merits of living together rather than getting married. In the previous article we looked at what research has to say about ‘break up’ rates as opposed to divorce rates, and how children may be affected by their parents living together but not getting married. In this next installment we’re going to take a look at some of the legal implications of those choices, and what they could mean for you.
Not legalizing your union could have serious financial implications
Making a life with someone where you jointly purchase property, or make any financial investments together, but don’t have any of the legal protections of marriage, may leave you open to future financial problems. For example, if an unmarried couple who lives together decides to part ways after several years in a relationship, they have no legal recourse for resolving property disputes, or addressing the issue of joint ownership of real estate. Not without filing a civil lawsuit, that is, which is a whole different kettle of unpleasant fish!
Prenuptial agreements are only available to married couples
As prenuptial agreements are only available to couples who are legally tying the knot, we can’t recommend that you pursue this option if you’re just planning to live together. Which means that all of the protections married couples get from these kind of legal agreements aren’t available to unmarried couples. Protections like ensuring that you aren’t responsible for someone else’s debt, and protecting an inheritance or a pre-relationship savings account.
So what can a cohabiting couple do to protect themselves?
We suggest that you sit down with a family law attorney and discuss your choices and goals for the future. Talk about what you would want to do with regards to custody of any children you share, and how you would want your assets divided, in the event that your cohabitation relationship ended. This way you can get good advice, and prepare for all eventualities (should it ever come to that!)
People whose prior marriages failed may not want to try again
Many people who have suffered through abusive marriages, bitter divorces, and even multiple unhappy unions are often gun shy about tying the knot. This is completely understandable. However, for those who choose to live with their partners, they will need to give some consideration to ensuring that all of their end-of-life and end-of-relationship paperwork is in order to reduce future difficulties.
Your best choice is a good family law attorney, no matter your situation!
The skilled family law attorneys at The Kronzek Law Firm have decades of experience helping couples and individuals prepare for their futures, protect their assets, and make sure their children are properly cared for. We can help you, regardless of where you may be in your relationship status, to ensure that all of your bases are covered. Call us today at 517-886-1000. We are available 24/7 to help you.