Fostering Transparency Through Cohabitation And Marital Agreements
Marital and cohabitation agreements are a legal tool that some parties are interested in because they provide those who will be married or living together flexibility to resolve issues between them. These agreements are typically written as a contract that establishes and defines the character of property (community and separate), that addresses spousal maintenance and attorney fees, and that sets out what will happen if separation, divorce or death occurs. This also allows both parties to safeguard what is most important to them and establish mutually agreed-upon boundaries – both of which are integral to a healthy relationship.
At Meridian Family Law, our lawyers can help you fashion a fair, thorough and precise agreement that is tailored to fit your situation. We work with clients from all backgrounds, including high-asset clients, those with blended families, business owners, those with generational wealth and the LGBTQ+ community.
Structuring A Cohabitation Agreement
Making the leap to move in with your significant other is an exciting time. It’s also a time to thoughtfully consider the consequences of living together. This should include openly communicating about your expectations and learning the expectations of your partner. For those who have assets/property they are bringing into the relationship, it is often advisable to make plans and set expectations about this in writing. A cohabitation agreement is often used to provide peace of mind and clarity about issues such as finances, property ownership, and rights and obligations in the event of separation or death. Our lawyers regularly draft property agreements and will help you structure your agreement in a way that makes sense for you.
The Benefits Of A Prenuptial Agreement
A prenuptial agreement provides an opportunity for you and your soon-to-be spouse to memorialize how you wish to handle important issues such as property, business ownership, spousal support, and inheritance rights for children from previous relationships. A prenuptial agreement usually addresses what will happen in the event of a divorce or death. There are also disclosures of what each of you is bringing into the marriage such as income, assets and debts. For example, you may want an agreement that designates certain properties to be kept separate, that establishes what will be joint or community, and that sets out your agreements about issues like alimony/spousal support and attorney fees. In preparing a prenuptial agreement, each party should have his/her own attorney to assist them in negotiating and understanding the unique benefits and consequences of the agreement.
Crafting A Postnuptial Agreement
If you’re already married and did not get a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage, a postnuptial agreement is a viable option. Such an agreement provides many of the same benefits as a prenuptial agreement and is drafted after the marriage has already occurred. Our attorneys can work with you to negotiate an agreement that is a framework of transparency and protection for both parties.
If you’re not ready for a divorce but need some time apart, we can also help you prepare what is known as a separation agreement, which allocates between you and your spouse the use or award of property and the payment of expenses or spousal support/alimony.