What About Co-Habitation?
At Bennett Family Law, we often see older people after the death of a spouse or a divorce, decide to live with a new partner instead of embarking on a second or third marriage. Regardless of the reasons for co-habitating instead of re-marriage, like a pre-nup, a written co-habitation agreement is the smart way to go. California does not recognize “common law marriages” (the old concept that if you live together long enough, eventually you’ll be considered married in the eyes of the law). Co-habitation agreements in California are governed by contract law and may give rise to other rights in the civil courts. If drafted properly, co-habitation agreements are enforceable like any other written contract. Many people will live together, split-up, then claim they have verbal contracts regarding property and entitlement to support. Verbal contracts are tough to prove and give rise to ambiguity and uncertainty. The better tool is a written agreement where all expectations are spelled out in black and white, and where it is clearly stated that there shall be no other agreements or changes, unless put in writing and signed by both parties.
Whether it be a pre-nuptial agreement, post-nuptial or a co-habitation agreement, let’s get ready for a successful marriage or serious partner relationship!