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What is the Purpose of a Cohabitation Agreement?

For anyone living in a life partner arrangement with someone else, consideration of establishing a cohabitation agreement is imperative.

In today's society, for many people, establishment of a cohabitation agreement is of prime importance. Not having such an agreement in place between life partners can have a significant and lasting negative impact on both members of the relationship. The financial health of the relationship as well as other matters hangs on considering the questions brought up by such an agreement.

Having said all that, what the heck IS a cohabitation agreement?

As the name implies, to state the matter simply, a cohabitation agreement is a written agreement or contract entered into by life partners before living together in a permanent relationship. During the relationship, a range of financial and property issues may arise which can be addressed in advance by the cohabitation agreement. In the unfortunate event the relationship should end in an untimely manner, the agreement will be able to provide for the protection of both parties, leaving no need for unpleasantness or ill-will. Addressing such issues before a need to address arises is a good way to relieve stress on what may already be a stressful relationship, thus allowing both parties to get on with building and enjoying the relationship.

Recent news stories have tended to focus on same sex relationships and the financial and legal difficulties faced by same sex partners in most cases. As a result of this media exposure, many people would have no problem understanding why gay couples, or even non-gay but same sex life partners, would have an interest in cohabitation agreements.

The public, and perhaps the people personally involved, may not be aware that there is yet another good sized segment of the population which may also benefit from access to these types of legal forms and documents.

The first phrase to look at is simply 'unmaried life partners'.

These 'life partners' could be a child living with and tending to the needs of an aging parent for example. In another instance, it could simply be two people of the same or different sexes, each of whom have permanently taken upon themselves a partnership with the other for whatever reason.

The key issue for determining the possible need for a cohabitation agreement is that they are individuals who are living together in what is considered and intended to be a long term situation.

This article is certainly NOT intended to provide legal advice. However, it would seem to a prudent individual that it might be in the best interests of those in this type of relationship to either contact an attorney for guidance, or to take advantage of available cohabitation agreement software or do-it-yourself legal forms.

A valuable point to consider should you decide to follow the do it yourself route is what additional documents you and your life partner may need beyond the cohabitation agreement itself. While the cohabitation agreement does address many important matters concerning finances and property during the relationship and upon its possible dissolution, there are other issues not specifically covered by a cohabitation agreement alone.

For example, there will be questions of finances, health care, property rights, and after-death issues which wil fall outside the scope of the cohabitation agreement. Any married couple concerned about their futures and those of their family would address these issues by the preparation of legal forms such as quitclaim deeds, last will and testament, power of attorneyFeature Articles, and a living will or living trust. It would be in the best interests of life partners to also consider the same issues in addition to the matters covered in a cohabitation agreement. Life partners do not always have the same protections under the law as those enjoyed by a typical married couple. This makes it especially important for life partners to be even more diligent in preparing in advance for all eventualities.

It is fortunate for those who might feel they need this sort of service that there are a great many excellent cohabitation agreement software packages available online in addition to bundles of legal forms. It would be in the interest of anyone in a long-term relationship with someone who could be considered a life partner to look into this type of material.

Article Tags: Cohabitation Agreement, Life Partners, Legal Forms

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Donovan Baldwin is a freelance writer living in Copperas Cove, Texas. He is a University of West Florida alumnus with a BA in Accounting (1973), and is also a member of Mensa. He has put up an informative webpage where you can learn more about cohabitation agreements at .

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