Previously, we wrote about a recent Illinois Supreme Court decision which highlighted the need for unmarried couples in Illinois to take steps to protect their assets in the event of separation. This is an especially important issue to address when an unmarried couple plans on commingling their assets, since doing so makes it difficult, if not impossible in some cases, to determine which assets belongs to which party.
One solution to this issue, particularly for couples who have yet to move in together, is to negotiate a cohabitation agreement. Such an agreement can specify how assets and debts are to be handled for the duration of cohabitation, in the event of separation, and upon death. This gives an unmarried couple control over how their assets and debts are handled with respect to the relationship.
Cohabitation agreements are, in Illinois, a rather recent development in terms of what is allowed by the courts. The validity of these agreements is still relatively new, and it is important for couples to work with attorneys who understand how to craft an enforceable agreement to ensure their assets are protected.
Two important areas cohabitation agreements may deal with are titling of property and certain estate planning matters. Unmarried couples may also choose to address these issues without a cohabitation agreement, but such an agreement can serve a unifying purpose with respect to asset protection. We’ll say more about this in our next post, and how an experienced family law attorney can provide assistance and advocacy.