news & events

News & Events
Unmarried and moving in together? Consider a cohabitation agreement.

Unmarried and moving in together? Consider a cohabitation agreement.

Is a cohabitation agreement right for you? Indiana courts have held that cohabitation occurs when parties merge households, but a subsequent marriage does not occur. Bright v. Kuehl, 650 N.E.2d 311 (Ind. Ct. App. 1995).

Unmarried couples that live together or are planning to live together are great candidates for cohabitation agreements. Similar to prenuptial agreements for married couples, cohabitation agreements are legally binding contracts that couples can use to assign responsibilities, rights, and obligations for each person regarding shared property, finances, and expenses.

Absent a cohabitation agreement, an individual may not be entitled to any recovery for his or her financial contributions in a relationship.

Under Indiana Code section 31-11-8-5, Indiana does not recognize common law marriages, which means that unmarried couples do not have any legal protections or guidelines for division of joint debts and assets. There are no protections similar to those provided for married couples for couples engaged in a long-term relationship related to things such as shared finances, expenses, and assets.

Unlike a legally married couple, unmarried couples have no claim to the other person’s property if the relationship dissolves regardless of: how long the relationship lasted; whether they lived together; whether the couple has children together; or the assets and liabilities that were collected during the relationship.

At most, unmarried couples can rely only on how property was legally purchased or owned. Of course, this can be problematic if one party was the sole owner of the couple’s vehicles, or if one party spitefully withdraws certain funds from a joint bank account following a breakup.

With an executed cohabitation agreement, couples have the power to consider what happens to their shared property before things go south. Signing a cohabitation agreement prior to a couple merging their households together can provide unmarried individuals with legal protections and remedies to the extent one person does not adhere to the agreement.

A cohabitation agreement can also save couples from messy litigation and legal expenses if a disagreement occurs after the relationship ends. Additionally, drafting this document will require couples to consider many important aspects of living together like managing a shared bank account, division of bills, ownership of assets, possession of property if there is a dissolution, and more. These agreements are great tools for clarifying each partner’s responsibilities, and outline what happens to joint obligations if the relationship ever dissolves.

Interested in preparing a cohabitation agreement for you and your significant other? Family law attorneys at McNeelyLaw can help you navigate this important step in your relationship. Please contact 317-825-5110 for assistance.

This McNeelyLaw LLP publication should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion of any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions you may have concerning your situation.

Welcome To Our Blog. Looking for a specific post?