A cohabitation agreement is simply a contract that sets out the rights and responsibilities of a couple that moves in together, but is not married. These agreements can be used for all couples regardless of their sexual orientations. Since there are no Indiana statutes that specifically dictate how a couple that has intertwined their lives, but is not married, should go about separating their financial lives if they decide to end their relationship cohabitation agreements are essential.
More and more couples are opting not to get married. Often couples live together for years, have children and may even hold themselves out in their communities to be married. However, the fact remains that you are not married unless you have obtained a marriage license from the county clerk that has subsequently been filed prior to its expiration. And, if you aren’t legally married, there is no Indiana law that dictates what might happen if your long-term boyfriend or girlfriend decides that he or she wants to cut ties. He or she may be able to evict you from the home that the two (2) of you have shared for years, may not be responsible for reimbursing you for money you spent on maintenance/repairs of the home, and may not have to reimburse you for money you paid toward a mortgage debt.
In addition to long-term couples who opt not to get married, many dating couples move in together prior to deciding to get engaged. Understandably, couples sometimes want to make sure that they are able to live together in a loving and harmonious relationship prior to taking the next step toward commitment. These couples are also great candidates for a cohabitation agreement. A cohabitation agreement will allow the couple to work together to come to an agreement about how their financial affairs should be split in the event the relationship don’t work out.
For couples who are thinking about moving in together a cohabitation agreement really should be considered. A cohabitation agreement is even more important when the purchase of a home by one or both of the parties is involved. These agreements lay out what happens if the couple decides to part and go their separate ways. In Indiana if a married couple decides they want to get a divorce, they can rely on Indiana statutes and extensive case law to determine how the couples assets and liabilities will be divided.
For those who decide not to get married there is much less law. For example, if an unmarried couple moves in together and both of them purchase the house, who gets the house if they break up? Does the party that doesn’t get the house get any money for funds contributed for mortgage payments, improvements and maintenance of the home? How about the equity that has built up in the house over time?
A cohabitation agreement is prepared in advance of an unmarried couple deciding to cohabitate that lays out exactly what will happen in the event of a breakup. Think of it as a prenuptial agreement for those who are going to move in together instead of getting married.
Our Carmel family law attorneys at Halcomb Singler, LLP, can help you and your boyfriend/girlfriend or fiancé/fiancée prepare a cohabitation agreement prior to moving in together. Spending a little bit of money now has helped many couples save thousands of dollars in litigation expenses when they break up and have to ask the court to determine how their assets and expenses should be split. Contact us today for a Carmel family law attorney to answer any questions you may have.
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