‘Cohabitation Agreement’ – The Prenup For Unmarried Couples

By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – Hear ‘Prenup’ and a wealthy couple on a second marriage might come to mind.

Now more unmarried couples are drawing up similar agreements to protect themselves if their relationship comes to an end.

Jewel Landers has been living with her boyfriend for 23 years.

Although they are still going strong, she has thought about what would happen if they ever split up.

“I would hope that if something were to happen to us that I would get something out of it without having to take him to court,” she said.

WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports.

A poll of divorce attorneys revealed an increasing number of unmarried are ending up in court when their relationships come to an end.

To prevent problems, many are signing what’s called a “Cohabitation Agreement.”

This is a legally binding document for couples who share a home, but not a name.

A cohabitation agreement outlines expectations no matter how a relationship ends.

It can cover issues like health insurance, repayments of debt, and what to do with all kinds of property.

Attorney Linda Lea Viken added, “What happens if you buy a house together? Who gets the house if it is not in both names? Also, furniture or other things that are not titled and not in anyone’s particular name.”

Relationship coach Dr. Anne Renee Testa views these agreements as a sign of the times.

Over the past two decades, the number of unmarried couples living under the same roof has almost doubled.

“A couple that is interested in being intelligent about their relationship should do something like this because it absolutely clears the air,” said Dr. Testa.

Dr. Testa believes a cohabitation agreement should not be viewed as negative for a relationship.

“It’s not about one person controlling the other. It’s not about feeling as though the romance is taken out of it. If anything, they should go out there and have a glass of champagne afterwards and celebrate.”

These documents can range in their level of complexity. Some couples even outline what should happen to pets if their relationship breaks up.

More from Paula Ebben
Comments

One Comment

  1. dismayed says:

    Does this mean that Judge Judy could be in jeapardy of going off the air?

    1. m says:

      LOL totally what I was gonna say!

  2. Alan says:

    Why not just get MARRIED, for ****’s sake?

    1. Michelle says:

      What about same-sex couples? They can’t get married in most places. But they should have a practical solution to a potential serious problem.

  3. no commitment? says:

    So…. you’re avoiding one type of legal “piece of paper” in lieu of another? What was the disadvantage to being married again?

  4. yikes says:

    “I would hope that if something were to happen to us that I would get something out of it without having to take him to court,” she said.”

    Tells you all you need to know, dude. Run away.

    1. Tassilyn says:

      Finally! This is just what I was lkoonig for.

  5. Jenrose says:

    The phrase, “Share a home but not a name” implies that all married couples do share names, which is just not the case. Plenty of women keep their own last name when they marry. I did, and we’re just as married as we would have been if one of us had changed names. I understand the desire to keep prose interesting, but you’ve lost accuracy here.

    1. DC says:

      Same here. I thought that was an ignorant phrasing.

  6. Bronty says:

    Marriage is a legal contract whose terms are drawn up by the gpovernment. I would much rather (and have) drawn up my own terms with my partner. Also, we are both transplants where we live, and we come from different parts of the country/world. Not only is a wedding impractical, it is something we have no interest in. Also, you can take the money you would have spent on a wedding and save part of it and spend part of it on things that are more fun.

  7. Melissa says:

    Wow, this is idiotic and childish. Just get married.

  8. Bronty says:

    The comments here really show how backwards and intolerant and judgemental the US can be. Thankfully, these people are in the minority.

    1. Kaedon says:

      Your articles are for when it absolutely, posviitely, needs to be understood overnight.

  9. Petra Ann says:

    What if people simply don’t believe in the institution of marriage? I have a good friend that refuses to marry until EVERYONE gets the same right and I respect her for that.

  10. Clara says:

    One or two to remmeebr, that is.

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