Cohabitation Agreements

Unmarried couples can negotiate contracts called “Cohabitation Agreements”, to help define and protect their individual rights while living together.

Because unmarried couples acquire financial interests during their relationship, it makes good sense to create a document that manages their respective responsibilities both while they remain a couple, and in the event that they separate.

What is the difference between a Prenuptial Agreement and a Cohabitation Agreement?

In essence, a Cohabitation Agreement acts a bit like a Prenuptial Agreement, only for unmarried individuals.  The main difference between a Prenuptial Agreement and a Cohabitation Agreement is that the former is based on the rights and responsibilities defined in the Family Code for married individuals, and the latter is based on the requirements for a valid contract.

What does a Cohabitation Agreement contain?

The subjects of a Cohabitation Agreement can include, but are not limited to:

  • The distribution of their property in case they break up, or one of them dies;
  • How much financial support each of them is to provide both during, and after they separate, and who has respective responsibility and control of financial accounts and banking;
  • How to divide their interests in a house or other real property;
  • Custody or support rights for minor children (though these provisions are superseded by state law, in the event that one of them seeks the protections of California law);

Mediation is an excellent process within which to negotiate these agreements.  For more information, please call us for an appointment.