When Does an Unmarried Couple Need a Cohabitation Agreement?

Posted on in Cohabitation

DuPage County family law attorney for cohabitation agreementsCouples that choose to live together while remaining unmarried are becoming more and more common in today's society. While there are a wide variety of reasons why a couple may not want to establish a legal partnership through marriage, they may wish to create a legal agreement that will protect their rights. A cohabitation agreement is a legally binding contract between partners, and it can establish property rights and describe how certain matters should be handled if the couple decides to break up. In any relationship, it can be difficult to consider a future without the other partner, but protecting yourself and planning for your future through a cohabitation agreement could help avoid unnecessary stress.

How Can a Cohabitation Agreement Be Helpful?

While some states recognize common-law marriage, in which a couple is considered to be legally married if they live together for a certain number of years, Illinois does not provide unmarried couples with the rights afforded to married spouses. While a prenuptial agreement may be created to help couples entering into marriage protect their assets or address what should happen in the case of divorce, these agreements only apply to married spouses. For those reside together and do not wish to be married, a cohabitation agreement can offer similar protections.


As with a prenuptial agreement, discussing the topic of a cohabitation agreement can be an awkward conversation between a happy couple. However, making decisions about how to address property, financial situations, and other issues in the event of a breakup can help avoid disputes in the future.


When considering the possibility of a cohabitation agreement, certain factors should be taken into account, including:

  • The disparity of wealth between partners.

  • Ownership of businesses and other assets obtained prior to or during the relationship.

  • Debts that are owed by one individual.

  • One partner taking a step away from the workforce to focus on life at home.

  • How expenses will be handled while the couple is living together.

If a couple has children together, issues such as child support and parenting time rights cannot officially be established in a cohabitation agreement. If the couple decides to separate, the court will make decisions about child-related issues based on what is in the children’s best interests.

Contact a Wheaton, IL Cohabitation Agreement Lawyer

There are a wide variety of reasons why a couple may choose not to get married. However, partners should still take steps to protect their rights in case their relationship ever ends. The dedicated lawyers at Andrew Cores Family Law Group can help you address your concerns and plan for your future by creating a cohabitation agreement that will meet your needs. For a free consultation, contact our DuPage County family law attorneys today at 630-871-1002.







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