It used to be against the law to cohabitate in Florida, much less provide for one another if the two part ways. And with no common law marriage in Florida, it’s even more important than ever to enter a cohabitation agreement.
A cohabitation agreement is sort of like a prenuptial agreement. It provides for each party in case of a break-up, incapacitation or death.
These days, people are moving in together earlier, more often and for a longer period of time. The longer the relationship lasts, the more the situation becomes like a marriage. For example, the couple may co-mingle funds, buy a home together, have children or even care for a parent or other family member. If something goes awry and no cohabitation agreement exists, things may become very complicated and emotionally unsettling.
So what can happen if you don’t have an agreement? Let’s say that you have co-mingled your money, have children and one partner stays home to take care of the kids. If you break up, there will be no alimony for the partner who isn’t earning a living.
Let’s say you have joint ownership of your house, children from separate marriages or other partners and one of you passes away. If you pass away without a will or agreement, your heirs will end up co-owning the property with your surviving partner, which may force a sale or compel your partner to buy out your heirs. In contrast, if you were married and one of you passes away, by law, the surviving spouse will receive 30% of your assets even if there is no will.
So, if you and your partner choose not to marry, it’s really important to have a cohabitation agreement in place. The agreement can spell out every detail of what will happen to your money, your home, your retirement benefits, and other assets, as well as address issues relating to your children and any other dependents or loved ones you are caring for.
At Halickman & Farley, we have found cohabitation agreements to be an excellent choice for those living together because they manage everyone’s expectations and create a situation that both parties believe to be fair and reasonable. Call us at 561-932-1988 to get the ball rolling on an agreement that protects you both.