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Options extend beyond traditional prenuptial agreements

For many in Maryland, marriage is not something that is a high priority. Some people feel that there is little to be gained from tying the knot, and are satisfied by simply living with their significant other and building a life together outside of marriage. For others, living together is something of a "trial run" for marriage, and a step along their journey. When couples cohabitate, they do not share the same legal protections offered to married couples in terms of prenuptial agreements or property division. That can lead to trouble in the event that the relationship ends and the parties cannot come to terms on how to divide their shared assets.

Things become even more complicated when those assets include a house. A piece of real estate is not a simple thing to divide, especially when one party wants to sell the property while the other wishes to remain living in the home. That can lead to a nasty legal battle that can increase both stress and expense.

A solution lies in the creation of a cohabitation agreement. This is a legally binding contract that offers many of the same protections available in a prenup. Parties outline the full scope of their existing assets, and how those assets would be divided in the event of a breakup. The document can be as detailed as the parties like; it is even possible to break down the percentage of equity that each side would be entitled to if the union should end.

Creating a cohabitation agreement is a simple process, and one that can have a number of rewards for Maryland residents. It is important to note that, unlike prenuptial agreements, cohabitation agreements can be drafted at any time, even after a piece of property has already been purchased. Having this contract in place can give both parties the peace of mind that comes with knowing that their interests will be protected, no matter how the relationship progresses.

Source: theblaze.com, "Cohabiting couples might want to think twice about buying a house together, experts warn", Lois M. Collins, Sept. 19, 2016

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