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What Is a Cohabitation Agreement?

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Mar 1, 2022

What Is a Cohabitation Agreement ?

Cohabitation Agreement

Without a cohabitation agreement, you and your partner could end up leaving relationship status in the hands of a court to decide. This can be a problem if the relationship goes south.

In general, New Jersey courts use certain criteria to help define cohabitation. That includes combining finances, dividing living expenses, and sharing household chores.

Make it clear with an agreement that has legal backing. Should you go this route, make sure it covers all five of the following objectives. 

Clarify Intent

A simple cohabitation definition would be two people with a mutual agreement to support one another outside of marriage. They can share a single residence or multiple residences.

The relationship may resemble a marriage or civil union. But the intent of the parties is to be seen as mutual partners. They’re committed to one another, but they’re not husbands and wives.

New Jersey is a state with one of the highest marriage rates and lowest cohabitation rates in the US. As a result, many will assume your relationship is a marriage or common-law marriage.

That can have huge implications if it’s a court deciding. Establishing this legal agreement ensures that your wishes for the relationship are seen and understood.

Set Healthcare Directives 

Something else to consider when looking at cohabitation meaning is healthcare wishes. Any agreement should make healthcare directives clear.

That makes it easier on your partner if any other family members dispute your wishes. Hopefully, you’ll never need to test those waters. But sickness, accidents, and other health issues occur frequently. Having the terms in place keeps everyone honest. 

Manage Assets 

A legal cohabitation agreement can also help define your relationship terms financially. It does this by laying out the necessary management of assets.

The agreement can be laid out what you keep separate, hold mutual, and even ownership of future assets. You can even sort out the equitable distribution of assets in the event of dissolution should you choose to do so.

Define Income Roles

An agreement for cohabitation in New Jersey should also speak to the income roles that each of you plays. Your earning capacity and fiscal responsibilities to one another now and throughout your relationship receive focus here.

Address Children

Another meaningful way the agreement will help you define what is cohabitation is in how it handles your children. If children are young enough, determining who takes care of them in the event of one’s death is essential. The agreement can reduce the likelihood of financial or healthcare conflicts for children who are now adults.  

A Cohabitation Agreement Lets You Define Your Relationship

Penning a cohabitation agreement for your living arrangement is an empowering step for unmarried couples. It gives you the chance to clearly and legally define the terms of your relationship.

It also helps to sort out any confusion or potential for dispute should one party die or if the relationship dissolves. Finally, that extra confidence will provide the peace of mind you deserve as you proceed with life.

Need help establishing the cohabitation agreement terms that you want? Dalena & Bosch understand how helpful these documents can be to their clients, and they are here to guide you through the process. Contact Dalena & Bosch today to learn more or to get your agreement started!

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