Understanding Illinois Cohabitation Agreements
There are several reasons why a couple may choose to remain unmarried. Perhaps they are disheartened by the institution of marriage because of a previous divorce or maybe they just want more freedom. Only the individuals in the relationship can decide if marriage is right for them or not. In Illinois, they can even take steps to protect their rights and assets while they are living together.
What is a Cohabitation Agreement?
This is where a cohabitation agreement enters the picture. Simply put, this is basically a prenuptial agreement that allows couples to live together amicably without getting married. The difference between this agreement and wedlock is that the individuals that make up the couple can dictate the terms of their cohabitation and their own rules if they decide to break up.
In comparison, marriage is a contract in and of itself. That is why it is subject to the state’s Dissolution of Marriage Act, which enforces the divorce process and sets support and maintenance.
A cohabitation agreement can be created before a couple decides to live together so they can hash out terms they are comfortable with. Some of the issues that this document addresses include the following:
- Division of property in case of a breakup.
- Health insurance coverage.
- Parental responsibilities of the couple if they have children.
- Payment of debts they are both responsible for.
We can say this agreement is somewhat like a prenuptial agreement. It can prevent conflicts in the future and especially if the couple decides to part ways. It can also prove invaluable if they cannot decide how to split assets and property (such as cars, artwork, furniture, pets, etc.) or divide debt fairly.
However, a cohabitation agreement is powerless when it comes to child support or parenting time. The court will have to be involved in those cases or those decisions cannot be enforced. All in all, if a couple is not married and foregoes the agreement as well, they can face devastating financial consequences later in life. That’s because they will not have the legal protection they need to make it on their own.
If you have decided marriage is not for you and want to live with your partner, you should seriously consider getting a cohabitation agreement. You can even hire an attorney to ensure it is legitimate. Just get in touch with us at the Law Office of Fedor Kozlov for a consultation.