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Survey Finds Cohabitation Agreements on the Rise

By Nottage and Ward on March 14, 2011

The Detroit Free Press reports a recent survey discovered that many couples who live together, but are not married, are increasingly choosing to sign a cohabitation agreement to protect themselves in case of a split.

The survey was conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), a group of about 1,600 divorce attorneys. According to the survey, approximately 48 percent of the lawyers have seen an increase over the past five years in the number of couples that are “duking it out in court.” However, 39 percent of those lawyers report a rise in the number of cohabitation agreements for couples who live outside of legally recognized marriages.

According to Ken Altshuler, the president-elect of AAML, cohabitation agreements are “on the cutting edge of relationships today,” since many couples choose not to marry or decide to enter a civil union.

A cohabitation agreement is very similar to a prenuptial agreement, which many couples choose to have prior to their marriage to guarantee their assets and property are divided according to their wishes in the event of a divorce. A cohabitation agreement, however, is an option for same-sex couples and unmarried heterosexual couples who live together. The agreement contains documentation that offers protection from litigation and other expenses should their cohabitation break down. It also allows an unmarried couple to standardize their property arrangements, as well as to direct the payment of debts and to provide the terms for financial support in the event that the cohabitation ends.

While it may be dispiriting to discuss whether you and your future spouse or partner wish to create a cohabitation or prenuptial agreement, doing so could save you time and money in the future should the union end. At Nottage and Ward, our Illinois family law attorneys have 20 years of experience handling divorce, child custody, prenuptial agreements, and other family law matters. We can help guide you through the intricacies of a prenuptial or cohabitation agreement to help you obtain the protection you need. Contact our law firm today at 312-332-2915 to learn more.

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