Cohabitation and Marriage Agreements

You live with or are married to someone (or are about to be). You should consider entering a cohabitation or marriage agreement, to address how issues like property division and support would be dealt with if you were to separate in the future. Here are three reasons you need one of these agreements:

  1. To protect yourself or others: A common purpose of cohabitation or marriage agreements is to say that, if there is a separation, each person keeps the property they came into the relationship with. If you have children from a previous relationship, this can be particularly important if you want to protect what will become their inheritance.

  2. To avoid disputes: Regardless of the exact content of the agreement (which can be just about anything!), you will both get peace of mind from knowing that long and expensive legal proceedings if you separate are much less likely. The agreement says what will happen if you separate, so there is little or nothing to fight about.

  3. To clarify responsibilities: Some cohabitation/marriage agreements (but not all) say what each person will be responsible for during the relationship. For example, it might say that one spouse will pay the mortgage payments, and the other will pay the utility bills.