Cohabitation 3

Living Together With or Without the Intent of Marriage

Because marriage has such a direct effect on your personal property and finances , many couples choose to live together instead. But like any partnership, this living arrangement has its own set of pros and cons. Here’s what you need to know about cohabitation.

Unlike a marriage, there are no formal state requirements that must be met before you can live together. Anybody can choose to cohabitate, regardless of age (assuming the parties are at least the age of majority) or gender.

Should the parties decide to stop cohabitating in the future, this arrangement can usually just end without any involvement of the court, barring any contracts the couple may have created. There are no rules regarding property division – what’s yours is yours and what’s theirs is theirs – but if purchases were made jointly, dissolving the relationship may be a little more complex.

Couples that break up don’t have to worry about providing any type of support oralimony to their ex, but this might be a big adjustment if the parties have grown accustomed to a certain lifestyle resulting from the combined income.

Parties who cohabitate cannot make legal or medical decisions for their partners without a Power of Attorney nor will they receive any of the privileges or benefits that would normally be granted to a spouse. In the event of a death, the estate is assumed by the family members (or whoever is specified in the will), not the partner.

If a cohabitating couple have children, the partner must still pay child support althoughpaternity may have to be proved to declare the partner legally responsible for the child.

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