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How signing a cohabitation agreement can protect your finances

In today's society, it's quite common for couples to either move in or buy a home together without first getting married. Many long-term couples tend to think that this provides them with some automatic legal rights to make certain decisions in their significant other's life. It doesn't. Unmarried couples must sign a few legally binding documents in order to be able to make certain financial or heath care decisions instead.

When it comes to financial matters, unmarried couples can sign a cohabitation agreement to clearly delineate who is responsible for covering the different household bills. In cases where the two partners have a significant income disparity, it even can be utilized to clearly define how much of each partner's income is being committed monthly to a joint account as well.

Some partners also elect to use type of agreement to clearly define what they would like to see happen with their shared home in the event the relationship ends. Among the details that the couple may look to address in the agreement, it may include such things as how much the other partner's portion of the house will be able to be bought out for and by whom, who will be expected to move out and what the timeline is for doing so.

In some cases, couples even elect to use this agreement to spell out precisely what they'd like to become of their shared property should one of the partners die before the other. In others, couples clearly define how money that has been accumulated within a joint banking account should be split.

If you're in a long term, committed relationship whereby you have investments that you and your partner both contribute to, you may find it beneficial to have a cohabitation agreement written up. By doing so, you'll establish your clear legal right to your assets and clearly define your partner's intentions as well. A Naples, Florida, attorney can provide assistance in drafting a legally-binding cohabitation agreement.

Source: Time Money, "4 Ways unmarried couples living together can protect themselves," Tracy Craig, accessed July 05, 2017

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