Cohabitation agreements are becoming increasingly popular, especially among unmarried couples who choose to live together. A cohabitation agreement is a legal document that outlines the terms and conditions of cohabitation, including the division of assets and liabilities in case of a separation or break-up. In this article, we will discuss the requirements of a cohabitation agreement, how to draft it, and how to file it.
Requirements of a Cohabitation Agreement
A cohabitation agreement must meet certain requirements to be legally binding.
· The cohabitation agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties.
· The cohabitation agreement must be entered into freely and voluntarily, without any coercion or undue influence.
· The cohabitation agreement must be based on full disclosure of all assets, liabilities, and income of both parties.
· It must not be against public policy or illegal.
Drafting a Cohabitation Agreement
Drafting a cohabitation agreement can be a complex process, but it is important to ensure that all the necessary terms are included. Here are some key elements to consider:
1. Property Division: One of the most important aspects of a cohabitation agreement is the division of property in case of separation or break-up. The agreement should specify how the assets and liabilities will be divided, including any joint accounts, real estate, and personal property.
2. Financial Support: A cohabitation agreement can also include provisions for financial support in case of a break-up. This may include spousal support or child support, depending on the circumstances at hand.
3. Dispute Resolution: It is important to include a dispute resolution clause in the cohabitation agreement, outlining how any disagreements or disputes will be resolved. This may include mediation, arbitration, or litigation.
4. Termination Clause: The cohabitation agreement should also include a termination clause, outlining the circumstances under which the cohabitation agreement can be terminated by either party.
Filing a Cohabitation Agreement
Once the cohabitation agreement has been drafted and signed, it is very important to file it properly. This can vary depending on the jurisdiction, but generally involves the following steps:
1. Notarization: The cohabitation agreement must be notarized by a licensed notary public to make it legally binding.
2. Registration: In some jurisdictions, cohabitation agreements must be registered with a government agency, such as the Department of Vital Statistics or the Registrar of Deeds.
3. Storage: It is important to keep the original copy of the cohabitation agreement in a safe and secure location, such as a safety deposit box or fireproof safe.
In conclusion, a cohabitation agreement is an important legal document that can protect the rights and interests of unmarried couples who choose to live together. By understanding the requirements of a cohabitation agreement, how to draft it, and how to file it, couples can create a legally binding cohabitation agreement that provides peace of mind and security for the future.
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