Florida Cohabitation Agreements
Many couples in Florida live together in a relationship without getting married. Unfortunately, these couples are not provided the legal protections of married couples, but the creation of a cohabitation agreement can establish rights and responsibilities for each person in the relationship that provides security and comfort now as well as into the future. If you are interested in drafting a cohabitation agreement in the Tampa Bay area, call or contact the law office of Blair H. Chan, III today to schedule a consultation of your legal needs.
What is a Cohabitation Agreement?
A Florida cohabitation agreement is a document that establishes property and financial rights for couples cohabitating in an unmarried relationship. This document can help identify who gets what if the couple ever ends their relationship and provide additional protections for significant others in cases of incapacitation, separation, or death. Unlike a separation agreement for a divorce, cohabitation agreements are based in contract law, which does not require the parties involved to be legally married.
Cohabitation agreements can establish many different rights for an unmarried couple. The most common is the establishment of property rights. Because a cohabiting couple is unmarried, the principles of equitable division do not apply when a relationship ends. As such, a cohabitation agreement can identify who is entitled to what property at the end of a relationship. Creating property rights in a cohabitation agreement can also reinforce an estate plan where property is bequeathed to each other in a final will and testament.
A cohabitation agreement can also create other types of rights for unmarried people in a relationship. It can create financial rights for partners, similar to alimony, that provide financial protection if the relationship ever ends. A cohabitation agreement can also incorporate a power of attorney form that gives cohabitating partners legal and financial decision making authority in cases of incapacity. Similarly, a healthcare proxy form can also be included in a cohabitation agreement that gives a couple medical decision making power for each other if one is unable to communicate those decisions on their own. The inclusion of these documents can be particularly important if a cohabiting couple is concerned that family members may try and take this decision making authority in times of crisis.
Limits on a Cohabitation Agreement
It is also important to note that there are limitations on what can be included in a cohabitation agreement. Like a prenuptial agreement, this document cannot contain provisions that are considered unconscionable or go against public interest. For example, a cohabitation agreement cannot leave one person in the relationship with nothing if the couple stops cohabitating. This type of agreement can also not contain provisions regarding the custody or support of any children that the couple has together. Those decisions must be made in the best interest of the child and approved by the court.
Call or Contact Our Office Now
To learn more about creating a cohabitation agreement, contact the Tampa family lawyers at the law office of Blair H. Chan, III today to schedule a consultation.