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Texas Divorce and Prenuptial Agreement

4550 Post Oak Place, Suite 201 • Houston, Texas 77027-3139

Phone: 713-877-8800 • Fax: 713-877-1229

Cohabitation Agreement Benefits for Couples Living Together

On Monday, we discussed new trends and statistics regarding couples who live together before marriage, a concept known as cohabitation. While these couples may not have the legal formalities of a married couple, many of them have just as much on the line. Cohabitating couples may have spent years together, shared bank accounts and raised children. Cohabitation agreements are like prenuptial agreements, but  they are for couples living together and not formally married. They are legal contracts that cohabitating couples can use to spell out how they would like to treat their property or provide for each partner in the event that the couple breaks up.

Who can benefit from cohabitation agreements?

Any unmarried couple living together is eligible to draft a cohabitation agreement. Two particular kinds of cohabitating couples should strongly considering entering into a cohabitation agreement in Texas. The two kinds are common law married couples and same sex couples. These couples in particular benefit from cohabitation agreements, because the law does not always clearly recognize their rights.

Common law marriages are lawful in several states and generally require a man and a woman to hold themselves out in the community as being husband and wife. They typically do this by using the same last name, filing joint tax returns, living together and, at least in Texas, signing a form with a county clerk. Couples meeting these requirements (without having signed the clerk’s form) who do not wish to be considered married should consider signing a document that specifically says that they are not married.

Same sex couples may not marry in Texas, so cohabitation agreements provide a means by which partners in such relationships can provide for each other or split property in the event that they break up. You can also specify important matters like who will make medical decisions in the event of an emergency.

Have you used or considered using a cohabitation agreement?

John K. Grubb & Associates, P.C. – Houston divorce lawyers

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