Cohabitation Agreement in Missouri: Protecting Your Rights and Assets
In recent years, cohabitation has become an increasingly popular option for couples who are not yet ready to get married but want to live together and share their lives. In Missouri, cohabiting couples can protect their interests and assets by entering into a cohabitation agreement, which will outline their rights and responsibilities during the course of their cohabitation.
What is a Cohabitation Agreement?
A cohabitation agreement is a legal document that outlines the terms and conditions of the relationship between two people who are living together but are not married. Also called a domestic partnership agreement, it is a contract that can be customized to meet the specific needs and circumstances of the couple. In a cohabitation agreement, the couple can specify their rights and obligations related to property, finances, and other aspects of their lives together.
Why Should You Have a Cohabitation Agreement?
While Missouri law does not recognize common-law marriage, cohabiting couples are still subject to certain legal rights and obligations. In the absence of a cohabitation agreement, the couple may be subject to state laws that govern property and other aspects of their lives together. This can lead to uncertainty and disputes if one partner becomes ill or dies, or if the couple breaks up. A cohabitation agreement can provide clarity and peace of mind by outlining each partner`s rights and responsibilities and protecting their interests.
What can a Cohabitation Agreement Cover?
A cohabitation agreement can cover a wide range of issues, including:
1. Property: The agreement can specify how property is owned and divided between the partners in case of a break-up, or if one partner dies. This can include real estate, bank accounts, personal property, and other assets.
2. Income and Expenses: The agreement can specify how income and expenses are shared between the partners. This can include rent, utilities, groceries, and other living expenses.
3. Debt: The agreement can specify how debts are allocated and repaid between the partners.
4. Health Care: The agreement can specify how health care decisions are made for each partner, and who is responsible for paying for medical expenses.
5. Child Custody and Support: If the cohabiting couple has children, the agreement can specify custody and support arrangements in case of a break-up.
How to Create a Cohabitation Agreement in Missouri?
To create a cohabitation agreement in Missouri, both partners must voluntarily agree to its terms and sign the document in front of a notary public. The agreement should be in writing and should be explicit and detailed. Each partner should also have their own lawyer to review the agreement and ensure that their rights are protected. A cohabitation agreement can be modified or terminated at any time by mutual agreement of the partners.
If you are living with your partner and have not yet gotten married, a cohabitation agreement can protect your rights and assets and provide clarity in case of a break-up or other unforeseen events. By defining your rights and obligations, you can avoid unnecessary disputes and ensure that your interests are protected. Speak to a lawyer experienced in family law and domestic partnerships to learn more about how a cohabitation agreement can benefit you.