What is a cohabitation agreement?

The long-standing tradition of marriage has changed over the last few decades.  When a couple was in a serious long standing relationship, they married.  They worked and saved money, earned retirement benefits and built a joint financial life.  That is just the way it was done.  The marital contract protected each spouse with legal rights to the division of debts and assets as well as protections to continue to parent their children.

We know marriage is not the only way couples show they intend to be with one another for the long term sharing their lives together.  Couples who choose to not marry can still have legal protections through a nonmarital agreement or contract not much different from a prenuptial agreement for couples about to marry.  Cohabitation agreements address division of debts and assets the couple obtains during the relationship.  Not every relationship is meant to last long term.  A cohabitation agreement is not meant for everyone.  There are times a cohabitation agreement may be an option:

  • A couple together ten years buys a house together during the relationship. Who is going to get the house?
  • How do all the furniture, tools and personal property get divided?
  • Both parties have children from a previous marriage. What happens if one of the partners dies?

Minnesota law requires a cohabitation agreement to be in writing.  Speaking with a family law attorney to determine if a cohabitation agreement is needed and how it should be crafted is a wise financial decision just in case the relationship does not last.

Contact experienced family law attorney Jessica L. Sterle to schedule a consultation by calling (218) 722-2655.