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Unmarried couples turn to cohabitation agreements to guard assets

Residents of Florida are no doubt aware of the nationwide trend towards a lower percentage of couples deciding to marry. There are many possible reasons for this, from general skepticism about marriage to financial pressure exerted by the recent economic troubles. But whatever the cause, the fact remains that just over half of adults enter into marriage today.

This does not mean that people are not forming relationships, however. More people are simply deciding to live together, to have children together and to share finances together without walking down the aisle. But just because such couples are not bound together by a band of gold does not mean that they are immune from some of the troubles that can befall married couples. Some married couples enter into prenuptial agreements to decide how debts, assets and other aspects of their lives will be divided in the event of a divorce. And there is an equivalent for non-married couples as well.

They are called "cohabitation agreements," and they perform many of the functions of a prenuptial agreement. According to a survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, a number of attorneys reported that cohabitation agreements were increasing in frequency.

This may be the result of rising tension between unmarried couples who are living together. Unmarried couples may bring certain debts and liabilities to a relationship, just as married couples do. Matters can become more complex if they decide to purchase a home or have children. But if they later decide to separate, a legal contract embodied in a cohabitation agreement can provide a clear resolution to any issues that might arise in the separation.

Source: CNN.com, "Prenups aren't just for married couples anymore," Jessica Dickler, Mar. 20, 2012.

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Attorney Curtis R. Cowan

Attorney Curtis R. Cowan

I am a Board Certified Marital and Family Lawyer and certified mediator with more than 25 years of experience in this field. As a solo practitioner, I am accessible to the clients I serve in Palm Beach County and Broward County. Contact my Ft. Lauderdale office at (954) 769-0670, or click here to send us an email.

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