An increasing number of people in the United States choose to live together without getting married. New Jersey family lawyers have observed a corresponding increase in the number of unmarried couples entering into prenuptial agreements.
Prenuptial agreements for the unmarried – also known as cohabitation agreements – are legally binding agreements that can address a number of financial and other issues. These agreements can help not just cohabitating heterosexual couples but also same-sex couples who live in states that do not recognize same-sex marriages.
According to a poll conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers last year, 39% of lawyers have seen an increase in the number of cohabiting partners choosing to enter into cohabitation agreements. The poll also found an increase in the number of legal conflicts between live-in couples.
A New Jersey Family Lawyer Can Help Draft a Cohabitation Agreement
A cohabitation agreement is similar to a prenuptial agreement for an engaged couple. These agreements often define each person's assets and outline how those assets will be divided in the event of a breakup. Couples can also use a cohabitation agreement to address child custody issues. For instance, in the case of a breakup, the agreement can define who gets custody of the children or how the custody will be divided if the couple chooses joint custody. The cohabitation agreement can also define the financial obligations of the noncustodial parent.
A cohabitation agreement is more important than a prenuptial agreement because New Jersey lacks laws that protect or recognize common law marriages or live-in relationships. In New Jersey, a couple that lives together does not receive any of the protections that are accorded to married couples, even if they have lived together for years. Even in states that do recognize such relationships, the laws do not clearly define the division of property and assets during a breakup.
The New Jersey family lawyers at Helmer Paul Conley and Kasselman represent persons in divorce, child support, child custody, and other family law-related matters across New Jersey.