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What is a Cohabitation Agreement in Florida?


The term cohabitation refers to two people who choose to live together and not enter into a legal marriage.  There are many reasons people may choose to forego getting married, with the downside being that they are not afforded the same rights as married couples because Florida does not recognize common law marriage.

Before same sex marriage was legalized in Florida, the use of cohabitation agreements began to gain popularity because they provided options for having some of the same rights legally married couples were entitled to. They serve a similar purpose to prenuptial and postnuptial agreements as well.

Definition of Cohabitation Agreement

A cohabitation agreement is a legally binding contract that is drafted, agreed to, and is also recognized by Florida courts in order to protect each party’s assets in the event they split up down the line. Like a prenuptial agreement, the idea is not to foreshadow doom and gloom, but to serve as an effective way to protect yourself in case something happens down the line.

Cohabitation agreements may also be called domestic partnership agreements, companionship agreements, or roommate agreements. The basis of a cohabitation agreement is founded on contract law rather than the principles of family law.

Cohabitation Agreements are Good for More than Just Asset Protection 

Cohabitation agreements offer more advantages to couples than just protecting assets during a break up. You can assign duties and rights to each party. These additions will vary by individual couples, as each case is different.

Agreements can address property and real estate law, landlord tenant law, or even labor law issues if one partner works for the other. Parties can contract on how they will acquire, dispose of, manage, and control various types of property. There can be an inclusion of “spousal” support or even a statement on how household duties will be divided up.

When it comes to financials, you can discuss separate and joint bank accounts and how they would be divided if you split up. You can spell out how you will share expenses, and any other conditions that are necessary in your particular situation.

If you have children, there may be an additional section that covers any aspects related to the kids. This may include a provision for child support, and whether modifications are allowed.

Enforcing a Cohabitation Agreement

To make enforcing a cohabitation agreement easier, ensure there are disclosures in the agreement and that everyone signs it in the presence of a notary. If you need to modify the agreement, it should be done in a similar manner to a marital agreement. Make all changes and have both parties agree to the modifications in writing. You can also draft a new document and include a disclosure that this cohabitation agreement renders the first one null and void.

Retaining a Florida Cohabitation Agreement Attorney

If you have questions about Florida cohabitation agreements or need assistance with drafting one, it’s important to speak with a Boca Raton cohabitation attorney. Contact the Law Offices of Schwartz | White at 561-391-9943 to schedule a consultation.

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