Maryland Family Law: An Introduction to Cohabitation Agreements

With cohabitation occurring at higher rates than ever, there have been a variety of legal cases involving couples who live together, but have never been married. These cases can get quite complex because there are typically few, if any, legal agreements in place. In fact, there are typically better legal documents in place when a roommate moves in than there are when a couple begins cohabitating.

To help prevent problems in the future, most attorneys today are recommending cohabitation agreements be written up and signed by both parties before they actually move in together. This will not only be beneficial in the event that there is a legal dispute in the future, but it can also help to get everything out in the open so that miscommunications are avoided.

Laws Recognizing Cohabitating Couples

Maryland’s laws recognize unmarried couples who live together as a unique situation. Their situation is not a marriage, which would typically demand that most assets are split upon a divorce, but it also isn’t just a friendship relationship where no assets are shared. Without a legal agreement, the courts need to rule on all conflicts, even though most of the information available comes down to ‘he-said, she-said’ statements, which are notoriously unreliable.

Benefits of a Cohabitation Agreement

When a couple has a cohabitation agreement in place, the courts have a lot more to work with. In addition, most couples can avoid court altogether because it is clear how a conflict will be resolved. These agreements can, and should, identify who is responsible for what in regards to the house or apartment they are living in, and who will get what should a breakup occur.

If the couple purchases a house together, the cohabitation agreement becomes even more important. In many cases, when a couple jointly owns a home, they are bound to each other financially. The cohabitation agreement adds a legal component to this, which can help make it clear what will happen should a breakup happen, or if the couple simply wants to sell the property and remain together living somewhere else.

Get the Assistance You Need

If you are considering living together with your partner, or you are already effectively living together, but you’re ready to make it official, please contact The Tyra Law Firm to go over all your options. Creating a cohabitation agreement is an affordable way to provide a significant level of protection for you and your future.

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Written by The Tyra Law Firm

Our firm offers a number of legal services, including Family Law, Estate Planning,Elder Law/Medicaid Planning, and Personal Injury. In each of our practice areas, we are committed to paying close personal attention to every detail, and providing excellent client service.