Non-Marital Agreements

An increasing number of couples are choosing to cohabitate instead of getting married. Thus, the crucial query is: What occurs when these couples split up? How can single people safeguard their separate financial interests when living together?

Laws governing married spouses’ financial interests exist in several states. Nonetheless, the majority of states lack legislation pertaining to the financial rights of cohabiting singles.

The benefits of a non-marital arrangement

You must express your intention and aspirations in writing if you want to clarify how you will share property during your partnership and what will happen to it if it ends or one of you passes away.

This contract is also known as a “living together contract” or “non-marital agreement.” (You will also need to create a will to appropriately indicate what happens if you pass away during the relationship.)

An arrangement between two individuals who live together as an unmarried couple is known as a non-marital agreement. It lays out the distribution of the couple’s assets and obligations in the case of a divorce or the death of one of them.

A non-marital agreement’s main objective is to make sure that neither party suffers financial ruin in the case of a breakup.

Properly worded and fair non-marital agreements are enforced in almost all states.

What issues should a non-marital agreement address?

Unmarried couples living together might use a non-marital agreement for a variety of purposes to safeguard their respective financial interests.

In fact, it becomes increasingly crucial to establish clear boundaries about property ownership the longer you live together. This is particularly valid if, as an unmarried couple, you purchase property together.

Your non-marital agreement should include the following topics, albeit they shouldn’t be the only ones:

How you will become the property’s owner: In certain states, single couples might become the property’s “joint tenants with rights of survivorship.” This implies that the other partner will automatically inherit the entire property upon the death of the first partner.As an alternative, you might be able to become “tenants in common” with the property. This will allow each of you to name in a will or trust the person who will inherit your portion of the property.

What portion of the property each partner owns: Generally, if you are joint tenants, you must each own an equal portion of the property.

What occurs to the property with the termination of your relationship?Will one of you have to pay the other person to go out? Will you have to split the revenues from the sale of the property? What occurs if there is disagreement over who should buy out whom? How does one become selected first?

Income inequality: How will non-financial contributions to the home be recognized for if someone is making them?

Debt responsibility: Your non-marital agreement can also outline who is and is not liable for certain expenses.

Non-financial issues: You can also decide to include any non-financial issues you would like to have documented. Some examples of these are how you will handle infidelity, how much time you will have to share the house in the event of a breakup, and the division of labor.

Drafting an enforceable non-marital agreement

A lawyer is not always required to draft your non-marital arrangement. But, a lawyer can make sure that the agreement satisfies the conditions necessary for it to be upheld in the state where you and your spouse reside. Generally speaking, a non-marital agreement must fulfill the following requirements in order to be enforceable:

Be fair and reasonable: Considering the interests of both parties, the agreement must be fair and reasonable.

Separate attorneys: When negotiating the terms of the agreement, each party need to have been represented by a different attorney.

be signed by both parties: Your non-marital agreement needs to be signed and notarized by both parties, just like any other contract. This will prevent you both from being able to later allege that your signature was obtained dishonestly.

If these requirements are not met, the agreement could be declared void by the court.

Speak with a nearby family law attorney for more details on whether non-marital agreements are enforceable in your state.