What is Cohabitation Agreement?
Cohabitation agreement is worth to be considered if you are one of those many people who is living together with your partner, but not married yet. Even though it is not a good idea to plan or think about the end of your relationship, ignoring the possibility that you might break up with your partner will not make things any easier if the event happens. Whether you are planning on getting married or not someday, living together with your partner without any cohabitation agreement is pretty risky for both of you.
Just like a prenuptial agreement or also known as a prenup, a cohabitation agreement is also designed to overcome various personal, family, and financial issues that you will probably face when you and your partner break up. But this kind of agreement can be limited as vast as you and your partner choose. But it usually covers essential aspects of your financial and personal lives. For you who want to know more about cohabitation agreements, here are the details for you.
The Definition of Cohabitation Agreements
Cohabitation agreements is a contract designed for people who are living together in the same household but are not married yet. This agreement is not needed if you are living together with a roommate. In other words, a cohabitation agreement is addressed for couples. Just like all types of contracts, cohabitation agreements also have to fulfill several basic legal requirements so that a court is able to enforce the terms. Because the basic legal requirements are different and not explicitly clear in every country, you need to talk to a lawyer in the area where you live if you consider making the agreement.
While a big majority of countries allow a cohabitation, there are some other countries where their legality is not really clear about this kind of agreement. In the countries which recognize or allow a cohabitation agreement, the legal requirements can be different as well as the cohabitation agreement form, depends on where you live and your circumstances. So, you can look for the cohabitation agreement template that is regulated in your country where you live. However, the basic requirements are mostly the same despite your location.
Unlike a prenuptial agreement that is usually regulated with laws which are specifically for it, a court sees a cohabitation agreement as a legal contract. In order to be enforceable legally, all kinds of contracts have to contain consideration or value exchange between the agreeing parties. For instance, in a car sale, the seller agrees to provide the car and the buyer agrees to provide money as the payment. Both of the parties agree to give a valuable thing to each other as consideration.
Determining or deciding what the consideration is in a cohabitation agreement can be a little bit tricky. Generally, the laws forbid any types of contracts for sexual favors. But, it can be understood that a couple who are living together is most likely to have sexual intercourse, you cannot have a cohabitation agreement which exchanges residences, money, or any other valuable things for sex acts. However, you are still able to share expenses in exchange for a companionship or other consideration forms which are legally allowed in the area where you live.
Fair and Freely Entered
There is no one who can force you legally to sign a contract. In order to make a court able to enforce the terms of your cohabitation agreement, you have to be able to show that you and your partner agree to choose to sign a cohabitation agreement with your own will without being forced, influenced, tricked, or anything.
In order to do this, you and your partner should have enough time to review and discuss the terms and consideration of the cohabitation agreement before both of you sign anything. It is suggested that each partner should have their own lawyer to advise and guide them in the making process of the agreement, even though it is not necessarily required by the law.
For a court to find that your cohabitation agreement is enforceable and fair, it must be ensured that both you and your partner enter into the agreement with full understanding and knowledge about what you are agreeing to. In order to fulfill this requirement, each partner usually should express to the other what exactly they are getting into. It means, for instance, that you have to figure out about all of your financial aspects. You will likely have to create and include financial disclosures in details as a part of the cohabitation agreement. Or at least, disclose to each other about your financial situation in full details before signing the agreement.
Revealing your assets, incomes, debts, obligations, and other important financial and personal lives of yours is a part of this process. And it will be better if it is done in writing. Some countries allow you to reveal this type of disclosure. But if you decide to do so, you have to make it clear that you are willing to reveal any disclosures by saying so in writing.
Cohabitation Agreement VS Prenuptial Agreement
A prenuptial agreement is a contract that is made by a couple before they are getting married with the purpose of governing what will happen if and when the marriage dissolves. A prenuptial agreement is similar to a cohabitation agreement in several things. But still, there are some significant differences between these two kinds of agreements. Specifically, most countries have specific laws or regulations which apply to a prenuptial agreement. On the other hand, cohabitation agreements are regulated by general laws for a contract.
If you want to make a prenuptial agreement by using a cohabitation agreement as the basis for your prenuptial agreement, it will be better if you talk to a family law attorney first in the area where you live so that you are able to know the best way to do this.
Those are all information that you should know about a cohabitation agreement.