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Cohabitation agreements and property rights for unmarried couples

On Behalf of | Oct 27, 2021 | Property Division

Divorce is hard, complicated and emotional. However, untangling informal conjugal cohabitation arrangements (widely known as “living together”) can be just as complex and heart-wrenching.

Houston couples who live together but have never gotten married may not have the same property rights as married couples. However, you can boost and protect your property rights with a document known as a cohabitation agreement.

What can you include in a cohabitation agreement?

These agreements function much like prenuptial agreements. They allow you and your partner to define financial elements of your relationship such as:

  • Each person’s property rights upon a breakup or a death
  • Financial support (like alimony) arrangements should the relationship fail
  • How to divide your residence (if owned) after breaking up
  • Each person’s debt responsibility during or after the relationship
  • Each person’s health insurance responsibilities during and after a relationship

Cohabitation agreements are less formal than prenuptial agreements –requiring only two elements for court enforcement:

  1. The agreement must be in writing.
  2. All involved parties must sign the agreement.

Of course, if a cohabitation agreement contains illegal or unfair provisions, a Texas court will likely overrule the document. However, when drafted correctly, these agreements can add a lot of protection for unmarried couples seeking to end the relationship.

If you live with someone and need help breaking up with your property rights intact, consider learning more about Texas property division laws. Having experienced legal guidance can help you make a cleaner break than you likely could accomplish alone. For those who are leaving a long-term cohabitation arrangement, legal protection is especially critical.