If you’re in a close relationship without any concrete plans for marriage, it is a good idea to have a cohabitation agreement — and our Attorneys will help you draft one.
Consider some situations in which it makes sense for unmarried people to consider a written agreement to define their rights and responsibilities in the event of a breakup:
Cohabitation with or without the parties having a joint bank account
Real estate purchased or held in one person’s name for some reason, for example, because of the other’s bad credit
The couple is engaged in business affairs together
One person pays most of the household expenses
One person is supporting the other through undergraduate, graduate or professional school
New York state law is generally silent as to the resolution of competing interests or claims if your current relationship should end. It is up to you and your partner to decide what’s fair when dividing the assets and debts you’ve accumulated while living together. A cohabitation agreement will be interpreted and enforced according to the ordinary rules of New York contract law. Just about any arrangement that the two of you agree upon will be valid, as long as both parties entered into the agreement freely and with informed consent. And, of course, you must make sure that the agreement does not contain any illegal terms. A perfect example of an illegal cohabitation agreement would be one based solely on payment to one party for his/her rendering sexual services to the other party.
Same sex couples, business partners on intimate terms, and older couples with prior marriages who do not wish to lose their valuable Social Security benefits may frequently benefit from entering into a cohabitation agreement.
We can help you think through the details of your current situation and express the terms of your agreement in clear and unambiguous contractual language.