Arizona couples who are unmarried but living together may be entering an area of financial risk if they commingle funds or share a mortgage or other obligation. They may be wise to sign an agreement outlining their rights and responsibilities. Cohabitation agreements are already increasing in popularity as the marriage patterns of Americans change.
A report released by the National Center for Health Statistics indicates that couples are getting married later in life than they previously did. The rate of divorce is decreasing, as is the fertility rate. A research professor at the University of Denver's Center for Marital and Family Studies said cohabiting has been linked to lower chances that a couple will stay together. At the same time, according to a Pew Research Center author, more than 50 percent of unmarried couples living together see cohabitation as a step on the path to marriage.
In many states, cohabitation agreements must be in writing to be effective. If the couple is buying a house together, the agreement should make clear who is responsible for loan payments and insurance premiums. If the couple is splitting these costs, the agreement should spell out the amounts or percentages each of the parties is responsible for. Cohabiting couples are less likely than married couples to combine all of their finances, but many of them split the costs of expenses and purchases, this according to the Pew Research Center.
Cohabiting may mean increased financial risk, but it is a trend that is gaining ground across the United States. Those who have questions about the legal impact of cohabitation may want to speak to an attorney. An attorney with experience in family law may be able to help clients by examining the facts of the case and developing a plan for asset division or by drafting a cohabitation agreement.