Legal agreements for unmarried couples, sometimes referred to as “non-marital agreements” or “cohabitation agreements”, can be of enormous benefit to any unmarried couple. Not only do they provide the same financial securities and planning of prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, they can also grant certain highly-important rights and responsibilities normally only associated with a marriage.
Regardless of the reason why you and your partner choose to remain unmarried, the fact of the matter is that you are in a committed relationship, and this relationship will come along with the co-mingling of finances, financial responsibilities to one another, and the need to protect your joint, and individual, legal and financial rights. By creating a clear, comprehensive, and effective cohabitation agreement, you can protect the future of your relationship, and address many of the issues that will arise over the course of your relationship together.
At Jacobs Berger, our attorneys have extensive experience working with unmarried couples in towns across New Jersey. We have helped many couples to create fair, dynamic, and legally recognized plans for their lives in cohabitation agreements of all kinds, and we are prepared to do the same for you and your partner today.
Contact our firm at (973) 710-4366 to discuss your unique needs and concerns regarding a non-marital agreement in a confidential and comprehensive case assessment today.
The Benefits of Cohabitation Agreements
The first advantage to creating a cohabitation agreement for an unmarried couple comes in the form of clearly defining the financial rights and responsibilities of each party in the event that the relationship dissolves, or one party passes away. This can be anything from addressing what kind of financial support one party may need to pay or receive, to how specific assets like a shared home, an individually owned business, a property, stocks, investments, or a retirement fund should be divided. Cohabitation agreements can also address financial support for children of a prior relationship as well.
While these are all considerations that can be addressed in any marital agreement, non-marital agreements can also grant many of the same legal authorities that married couples enjoy to an unmarried couple. For example, a cohabitation agreement can allow an unmarried couple to:
- Make decisions for their partner regarding medical treatment
- Give power of attorney to the other party
- Ensure life insurance policies are given to the other partner
- Include a partner on a health insurance plan
Without a cohabitation agreement in place, none of these critical powers will be granted to either party. If one partner falls ill, the other partner most likely won’t even be considered family, and as such may be prevented from receiving updates of their partner’s condition, and potentially even blocked from being granted visitation time. As you can see, if you are serious about sharing your life with your partner, but wish to remain unmarried for any reason, than a cohabitation agreement can be of enormous benefit to both of you.
Is My Non-Marital Agreement Legal and Valid?
Of course, any time you enter into a non-marital agreement with your partner, you will want to ensure that your agreement is legally recognized and valid. In order for any agreement between an unmarried couple to be considered legal and enforceable, several important requirements will need to be met:
- You and your partner each retain separate legal counsel when creating and signing your non-marital agreement, or explicity waive your right to representation in writing.
- The value of any assets, investments, properties, businesses, etc mentioned in your non-marital agreement need to be fully disclosed, and accurately determined. If any one asset is inaccurately valued, either purposely or by mistake, than the entirety of your non-marital agreement can be considered invalid.
- Any agreement you reach with your partner needs to be fair to both parties. If any one party is particularly disadvantaged, or your agreement is considered unreasonable, than its validity can be called into question.
- You and your partner each signed your cohabitation agreement without any question of coercion, manipulation, pressure, compulsion, or threat by either party.
- You and your partner each need to be given a reasonable amount of time to consider the terms of your cohabitation agreement, their implications, and whether or not the agreement should ultimately be signed.
If you and your partner are going to spend the effort and time necessary to creating a non-marital agreement, it is important that you retain the counsel of an experienced non-marital agreement attorney. Our Randolph, NJ non-martial agreement attorneys can help you to ensure that any agreement you enter into is fair to you, properly takes into account all of the responsibilities you and your partner wish to address, and is ultimately considered legal and valid.
On the other hand, if your partner failed to fully disclose or accurately value any of the assets mentioned in your non-marital agreement, or somehow pressured or coerced you into signing it, we can help you to protect your individual rights and legal and financial future by contesting the validity of your non-marital agreement in a court of law.
Contact Our Unmarried Couple Agreement Attorneys
At Jacobs Berger, our family law team has over 25 year of combined experience helping couples to draft, modify, enforce, and contest cohabitation agreements of all kinds across New Jersey.
We understand just how important your relationship as a couple and your individual legal and financial rights are to you, and as such we are prepared to help you address each of your unique needs and concerns in a constructive, informed, and ultimately successful manner in any family law matter, including cohabitation agreements.
To speak with our team today in a confidential and comprehensive case assessment regarding your cohabitation agreement, how to create one which properly addresses your joint and individual needs, or the enforcement or contestation of an existing non-marital agreement, please contact us online, or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 710-4366.