For generations, the majority of young men and women had the goal of meeting someone, getting married, and raising a family. However, statistics reveal that for many, that goal has changed a bit. Many people today are choosing not to get married, but this choice is not necessarily keeping them from trying to build a life with that “special someone.” But, what happens when a live-in romantic relationship starts to fall apart? A qualified family lawyer can help you come up with some ways to protect yourself.
Cohabitation Statistics in the U.S.
A study conducted by the Pew Research Center revealed that among American adults between the ages of 18 and 44, a larger share (59 percent) have moved in with a romantic partner at some point in their lives than have been married (50 percent). More than a third of adults (35 percent) have been in both types of relationships.
There are several common reasons cited why people choose not to get married, with one of the major ones being financial. Many people want to be financially stable before walking down the aisle. This delay in marriage has led to a huge increase in the number of couples who choose to live together, also referred to as cohabiting. In the past 50 years, the number of couples who choose to share a home either before or instead of marriage has grown by 900 percent. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, almost 8 million couples cohabitate. Twenty years ago, that number was just under 3 million.
Potential Problems for Cohabiting Couples
Many cohabiting couples meld their financial lives together, just as married couples do. Shared bank accounts, homes, property, and other assets are common, as are shared debts, such as joint credit card and utility bills.
However, unlike marriage, which offers couples legal protection under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, there are no laws in the state that govern cohabitation. Illinois does not recognize common-law marriages, nor are there legal rights afforded to couples who choose to live together.
However, couples can create a cohabitation agreement that provides the protection both parties need in the event of a breakup. A solid cohabitation agreement should address the following topics:
Assets that were owned separately before the couple began living together
Any property inherited or gifted to either party
All property purchased jointly
A plan for how joint assets will be divided in the event the couple should break up
Any expenses the partners share
A plan for how joint debt will be divided in the event the couple should break up
The agreement should also include provisions regarding what method the couple will use, such as mediation, should a dispute over the cohabitation agreement arise.
Contact a DuPage County Cohabitation Agreement Lawyer
When drawing up a cohabitation agreement, it is a good idea for each individual to have their own attorney in order to ensure both parties’ legal rights will be protected. If you are considering such an agreement, contact an experienced Wheaton family law attorney. Call Andrew Cores Family Law Group at 630-871-1002 today to set up a free initial consultation.