Cohabitation Agreements & Dissolution Agreements
Not every relationship results in a legally recognized marriage. Whether you and your partner choose not to get married, or are not able to get married due to legal restrictions, your relationship is currently not acknowledged by the courts in the same light as a state-sanctioned marriage. However, your relationship can have the same issues that many married couples face and you and your partner may deal with the same legal and financial concerns that any legally married couple encounters. In the event your relationship ends, the laws that govern issues of property division, shared debts, minor children, etc., that apply to legally married couples will not apply to your relationship.
At the beginning of a relationship or during happy times, it is not pleasant to think about what may happen if the relationship ends. However, in any relationship simple and complex issues can arise which need to be addressed in the event the relationship ends. These issues can include matters involving the division of assets and debts; and if children are born into the relationship or adopted by one or both parties, then issues of physical and legal custody, parenting time, and child support will arise as well.
Dealing with these issues can be stressful and traumatic, and even more so during a break-up. Navigating sensitive issues can complicate an already difficult situation. A cohabitation agreement, which is a comprehensive legal document that outlines mutually agreeable terms, can take the stress out of the unknown that comes with dealing with the end of a relationship and predetermine how issues will be addressed by the parties. Or if you and your partner find yourselves at the end of the relationship without a cohabitation agreement in place, a dissolution agreement can be drafted that addresses any issues you and your partner face.
The attorneys at Gibbs & Mabe have vast experience in dealing with issues that can arise in any relationship, including those couples whose relationships are not recognized by the courts as a legal marriage. Whether your relationship will or does involve accumulation of assets or debts or if minor children are involved, a cohabitation agreement or a dissolution agreement can give you and your partner the peace of mind of coming to agreement before the dissolution of a relationship. Contact us for more information.