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Cohabitation agreements in Illinois : Basics

Today, not every couple is getting married or having a civil union. While Illinois law gives married couples or civil unions’ rights and sets forth how property is divided, unmarried couples do not have the same benefits. I will use the word married to indicate married or civil union. However, these couples that are not getting married are still acquiring assets and debt like a married couple. They are buying houses and cars, have a joint checking account, credit cards, and other financial instruments. So, how is everything divided? A cohabitation agreement can prevent costly and unnecessary litigation when the couple decides that the relationship is not working.

A cohabitation agreement is nothing more than a partnership agreement. It sets forth all of the terms on dividing assets and debts, and how to wind down the relationship. It is designed to cover most anticipated events. Nothing can cover every conceivable event. It will not cover anything to do with children. A well drafted cohabitation agreement is essential to reducing litigation and resources if the relationship ends. It is said that a cohabitation agreement is the map to a great relationship, and may help keep the relationship on track. In my 20+ years, I found that a great partnership includes a great business plan. A cohabitation agreement or partnership agreement is essential once you make any financial decisions together!

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