Prenuptial agreements, made before a marriage ceremony, and Postnuptial agreements, those made after the marriage ceremony, are essential in protecting assets like a business or home, as well as the interests of children from a prior relationship. A pre or post-nup can prevent a legal battle over the distribution of assets and debt in the event of a divorce or the dissolution of a relationship. The purpose of these agreements is to avoid disputes by defining each party’s rights and obligations prior to entering a marriage, or shortly thereafter. The laws around pre and postnuptial agreements are strict, and the agreement must meet multiple legal requirements before it will be enforced.

A cohabitation agreement is like pre- and post-nuptial agreements. Cohabitation agreements spell out how to handle the same disputes, but it is made without the intent to marry. They outline the following issues:

  • Who owned what property before entering the relationships.
  • How expenses are to be handled.
  • How income earned while in the relationship will be handled.
  • How finances and purchasing decisions will be made.
  • Each party’s responsibilities with respect to financial expenses associated with living with one another including specifying each party’s responsibility for his or her individual debt.
  • Defines the terms of the dissolution of the relationship and how all the assets, such as life insurance, would be partitioned.
  • Determines how real estate would be valued, which is often the largest single asset a couple may own together.

These agreements establish each party’s legal rights and responsibilities. They are legal documents that serve as a precaution to protect each party from litigation in the event the partners decide that they no longer wish to live together or maintain their marital relationship. They allow both parties to regulate their property and designate what will happen to the property in the future. They also permit both parties to plan for specific assets they acquired before deciding to live together and/or assets that they anticipate will be acquired during the period of their cohabitation or marriage. Most importantly, if children are involved, they set forth an agreement regarding child-related and parenting issues.

There is no replacement for legal counsel when making agreements regarding a relationship, and Giampolo Law Group is the experienced source to guide you through.

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