How can unmarried couples establish property rights?

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Unmarried Couples on Friday, October 9, 2015.

In this day and age, for one reason or another, more and more couples are choosing not to get married. While marriage is not technically necessary, it does offer many legal benefits, and perhaps the most important benefit is right to property in the event of a death or a divorce. If one member of an unmarried couple dies, then the significant other may not be able to claim ownership of the property that was collected throughout the course of the relationship.

Property rights are often heavily contested by members of an unmarried domestic partnership, primarily in the event that the relationship ends. When unmarried couples who have lived together for an extended period of time separate, they often end up arguing over whose property is whose, leading to property disputes that can be difficult to resolve. However, much like a prenuptial agreement, unmarried couples can establish property agreements in order to keep track of ownership.

Cohabitation agreements can provide detailed outlines about who owns specific assets, how expenses are shared, how accounts are managed and more. Even residencies can be covered by a cohabitation agreement, including the percentage of the house that each partner owns and what happens to the house in the event of a separation.

Obviously the last thing on a couple’s mind is planning for separation, but sometimes one difficult discussion can prevent a great many difficult discussions if such a split should occur. By outlining who gets what in the event of a separation, unmarried couples can ensure that the difficulties of asset division do not cause them to fight over property in the event of a breakup. If you live in Missouri, and you are living with a significant other, consider meeting with an attorney to establish a property agreement.

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