Living Together Without Getting Married

In today’s world, more and more couples make the choice to cohabitate without getting married. This is a common scenario for not only opposite sex couples, but also for same sex couples. Living together can offer many of the benefits of marriage such as companionship, financial and emotional support, and children. This unique living arrangement can also result in many of the issues that arise when couples divorce or separate.

Minnesota has a statute in place designed to specifically address the issue of persons who are cohabitating. The statute envisions a contract between the parties that is enforceable only if:

  • It is in writing.
  • It is signed by the parties.
  • Enforcement of the agreement is sought only after the relationship terminates.

The topics that can be included in a cohabitation agreement include many of the same topics that would be addressed in a divorce. Division of property, child support and custody, and payment of debts are only a few of the topics that can be included in a cohabitation agreement. These agreements become important not only if the parties decide to end their relationship, but also if one of the parties to the relationship dies. Consider a situation where two people are living together and have a child, but are not married. If one of those parties dies, the remaining party has rights to their child but may have to wade through the interests of relatives of the deceased. Or, upon the death of one party, the survivor may have to deal with property agreements and debts of the departed. Setting a clear plan for how assets and debts are distributed and the rights of the parties with respect to children and property are important issues a cohabitation agreement addresses.

For help with the drafting of a cohabitation agreement, schedule an appointment with a Minnesota family law attorney. We have experience in drafting these agreements, enforcing them and advising you of the consequences of the terms included in an agreement. We offer advice specifically tailored to your unique situation and help you understand your choices.

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