For the convenience of our clients, we also offer the options to meet via video conference or by telephone

Helping People Move
Forward With Their Lives
  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Family Law
  4.  » How unmarried couples protect themselves from messy breakups

How unmarried couples protect themselves from messy breakups

On Behalf of | Apr 21, 2023 | Family Law

The decision to forego marriage doesn’t necessarily translate into people bypassing romantic partnerships. It has just become less common for those who are sharing lives and resources to legally formalize their romantic relationships.

Not getting legally married means that couples can avoid the stress and drama of a divorce, should their relationships ultimately end. However, if they take steps like buying a house together or they share children, they will still have many shared legal and financial responsibilities in the event of a breakup. Those who are intending to combine households, especially if they are going to purchase real property together, may want to act to protect themselves by signing a cohabitation agreement.

How do cohabitation agreements work?

A cohabitation agreement is a contract between roommates or romantic partners outlining their expectations for their relationship when they begin living together. A cohabitation agreement can discuss the maintenance and financial responsibilities of each individual and also explain what rights they may have in the event of a breakup.

Cohabitation agreements can help clarify how people can recoup what they have invested in shared property and also what resources they can take with them when they leave the relationship. Like any written contract, cohabitation agreements need to be very specific and also compliant with Michigan standards.

Individuals hoping to protect themselves when moving in with another person can partner with a lawyer to put together an agreement in addition to any lease, deed or mortgage paperwork that they sign. By negotiating and clarifying their obligations to one another, the unmarried individuals initiating a cohabitation arrangement can protect themselves from future challenges while also potentially setting the relationship up for success.

It is better to address issues while on good terms

While it may not be particularly romantic or pleasant to contemplate the end of a relationship while making a big, exciting change, being honest about the challenges ahead can make it easier for a couple to successfully transition to a cohabitation arrangement. Additionally, if things ever change in the relationship, the change can be fair and reasonable because the partners took the time to plan before their emotions take control of their behavior.

Those who choose to forego marriage do not necessarily have to eliminate all personal protection in their relationships. Negotiating cohabitation agreements and co-parenting plans are some of the family law matters that unmarried couples may benefit from addressing with one another to better ensure a more stable future.