Cohabitation Agreements Attorney
Couples who execute these agreements clearly intend not to be ceremonially married and do not have a verbal or written agreement to be common-law married and want to avoid the potential for one party to the living arrangement to later seek to establish a common law marriage in court.
The objectives of these couples from a contractual standpoint are similar in some ways to those of the couples who intend to marry except, and it is a big exception, the cohabitating couple does not need to avoid the governmentally-imposed obligations of the couple who is or plans to be married, such as taxes, death benefits, beneficiary designations in third-party (life insurance, retirement plans), etc. If there is no marriage, there can be no community property nor the type of fiduciary duty [a duty (at common law or statutory) to act in the best interests of another] from one cohabitant to the other as there is between husband and wife. That does not mean that cohabitants do not have any fiduciary duty from one to the other, as such a duty can be established at law where a relationship of trust has been established and relied upon then breached by one party to the detriment of the other to a degree which the court finds to be offensive.
Nevertheless, a COHABITATION AGREEMENT can regulate much of the financial life of the parties throughout the cohabitation and regulate the rights and duties of each person upon termination of that living arrangements. But, primarily, it clearly states that it is the parties’ intent not to establish or allow to be created by any future act of the parties a common law marriage between the cohabitants.