Cohabitation Agreements: With 3.5 Million Cohabitants in the US, the Time May Be Right for One

The kissing cousin of the prenuptial agreement is the cohabitation agreement.

Depending on the state where the cohabitants live, a cohabitation agreement may create rights or deny rights.

Regardless of the state, a cohabitation agreement may be made between:

  1. romantic couples testing the waters prior to marriage
  2. platonic couples living as roommates to share expenses and pool resources
  3. gay couples in states where gays cannot legally marry or enter civil unions.

There are roughly 3.5 million cohabitants in the US.

Like prenups, a cohabitation agreement can address rights in the event of breakup or death of one party.

Unlike prenups, cohabitation agreements are governed by contract law, not family law.

It is prudent to draft them as pertaining to a business / monetary arrangement, rather than a thinly veiled prenup or postnup agreement.

Some tips:

  1. be sure to cover the basics before plunging ahead to more complex matters
  2. don’t contract for personal services, especially sexual services
  3. each party should have their own attorney
  4. disagreements should be required to be addressed in mediation before court

Read more in this Philadelphia Gay News article: Out Law: The pre-prenup.