Cohabitation Agreement in Washington: What You Need to Know
Cohabitation, or living together outside of marriage, has become increasingly common in the United States. In the state of Washington, same-sex marriage has been legal since 2012, and a growing number of couples choose to cohabit instead of getting married. However, unlike married couples, unmarried cohabitants are not afforded the same legal protections. That`s where a cohabitation agreement comes in.
What is a Cohabitation Agreement?
A cohabitation agreement is a legal document that outlines the rights and responsibilities of unmarried couples who live together. The agreement can cover a range of topics, including property ownership, financial support, and child custody.
Why Do You Need a Cohabitation Agreement?
Without a cohabitation agreement, unmarried couples in Washington have no legal protections if the relationship ends. In the absence of a written agreement, the court will have to divide property and assets based on state law. This means that one partner may end up with nothing, while the other partner walks away with everything.
A cohabitation agreement helps to avoid this scenario by providing clarity and security for both partners. The agreement can help to ensure that each partner`s financial contributions are recognized, and that property is divided fairly if the relationship ends.
What Should a Cohabitation Agreement Cover?
The specific provisions of a cohabitation agreement can vary depending on the couple`s needs and circumstances. However, some common topics that may be covered in the agreement include:
– Property ownership: The agreement can specify how property and assets are owned by each partner during the relationship and how it will be divided in the event of a break-up.
– Financial support: The agreement can outline each partner`s financial responsibilities, such as who will pay rent and utilities, how bills will be divided, and how joint accounts will be managed.
– Child custody and support: If the couple has children together, the agreement can detail how custody and support will be decided if the relationship ends.
– Dispute resolution: The agreement can specify how disputes will be resolved if the couple can`t agree on something, such as through mediation or arbitration.
How to Create a Cohabitation Agreement
Creating a cohabitation agreement can be a complex process, and it`s important to work with a qualified attorney who has experience drafting these types of documents. Both partners should have their own attorney to ensure that their individual interests are protected.
To create a cohabitation agreement, both partners will need to provide information about their assets, debts, and income. They will then work with their attorneys to negotiate the terms of the agreement, which will be written down and signed by both partners.
A cohabitation agreement may not be the most romantic topic to discuss, but it`s an important step for unmarried couples who want to protect their interests and avoid legal disputes. If you`re considering cohabitation in Washington, it`s worth speaking with an attorney who can help you understand your legal rights and options. By creating a cohabitation agreement, you and your partner can enjoy the benefits of living together while also having the peace of mind that comes with legal protection.