Is Cohabitation a Viable Alternative to Marriage?


In hopes of avoiding going through a second Pasadena divorce, many couples see cohabitation as a less risky alternative to tying the knot once more. But cohabitation isn't something you should rush into blindly. Cohabitation comes with its own risks and should be carefully considered.

First, you should check and see if your divorce decree places any limitations on cohabitation. Many people with minor children have a clause in their divorce decree that prohibits cohabitation or overnight guests to protect the children from the consequences of a parent's failed romantic relationship. If you're receiving alimony payments, the decision to cohabitate might affect this as well.

If you decide that cohabitation is a step you want to pursue, have a long discussion with your partner about the following issues to make sure that you're both on the same page about what you want from the experience:

  • How you will share expenses
  • How you will handle household chores
  • How you will handle parenting issues, if one or both of you have children
  • How you view your relationship towards your ex, especially if you have children with your former spouse and will need to communicate with him or her regarding parenting issues
  • If you see cohabitation as a step towards marriage or an alternative to getting married

You may also want to consider seeing an attorney to draw up a cohabitation agreement. A cohabitation agreement is similar to a prenup, but is designed to protect unmarried partners who are living together. It can be especially helpful when you have significant assets to protect, or if one partner is going to make a sacrifice such as quitting a job to move across the country or deciding to stay home full-time to help care for the other partner's children.

How Can We Help?

Please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at if you have questions about how cohabitation might affect your divorce settlement. Our Pasadena family law attorneys are eager to assist you in any way possible.