Do I Need a Cohabitation Agreement?


If you've already been through a messy Pasadena divorce, you may think its safer to just live together with your new partner instead of walking down the aisle a second time. However, cohabitation has its own risks.

Many couples who are living together essentially behave as married people. They share finances and the responsibility of maintaining a household without the legal protection they'd have if they were married.

A growing number of experts are recommending that couples create a legally binding cohabitation agreement before moving in together. A lawyer specializing in family law can create a document that details what will happen under various circumstances. The cohabitation agreement can address issues such as:

  • Can partners make important medical decisions for each other?
  • How will assets be divided if the relationship ends?
  • How will any gifts or inheritances that each person received be treated? Will they be separate property or joint assets?
  • How will retirement account values be distributed?
  • If the relationship ends, will the lower earning party be eligible for palimony?
  • If the couple has a child together, how will custody be decided if the relationship ends?

The more assets that are involved, the more important it is to have a cohabitation agreement. It is also a good idea to ask for an agreement if you will be forgoing employment to care for children at home, since you would be financially vulnerable if the relationship ended.

When you are creating a cohabitation agreement, you must also consider if living together will affect your ability to continue to receive alimony from your former spouse. Depending upon the language in your divorce settlement, cohabiting may make you ineligible for further spousal support payments.

How Can We Help?

If you need to find a qualified attorney to help you create a cohabitation agreement, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at Our Pasadena family law firm is staffed with skilled attorneys who can provide the representation you need.