A cohabitation agreement is a legal contract between two people who have chosen to live together, whether they are a heterosexual or a homosexual couple, in order to regulate the legal aspects such as property ownership, support obligations, estate and children.
In some ways, because the couple are like a married couple, such as when applying for a housing bond or working out child maintenance support, the contract is very similar to an antenuptial contract.
When unmarried couples that live together need structure and certainty to define the legal status of their relationship, they can make use of a Cohabitation Agreement or Common Law Contract.
This type of contract is similar to an Antenuptial Contract between married couples, however, the only difference is that the couple isn’t married.
Cohabitating parties need to regulate their affairs relating to ownership through a written contract for a number of reasons.
The most important being a partner’s right to maintenance or support.
Many cases in recent times have brought into question the right to claim maintenance or support from the estate of a deceased domestic partner.
However, there are currently no rights which are automatically afford to domestic couples in this regard.
The surviving partner will be met with the impossible challenge of trying to convince the court of his or her right to a claim for maintenance or support from the deceased partner’s estate if there is no binding contract existing between them which shows their intention to be legally bound.
As this is similar to a marriage contract, many issues which married couples have to consider need to be considered by partners who have a Cohabitation Agreement between themselves.
Matters like joint ownership of assets, determining the assets and liabilities, division of the estates, investment maintenance, what happens when the death of one partner occurs, children and the possibility of the relationship ending all need to be considered.
Read more on the benefits of cohabitation agreements.
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