Cohabitation Agreements for Unmarried Couples Living Together in New York

Beginning the journey of living together as an unmarried couple in New York is a big step in creating a life together. But amid the excitement, it’s important to set a strong foundation for stability and security, especially regarding property rights. If you are not married but living together, a cohabitation agreement is important to protect you and your partner and what you each own.

A cohabitation agreement is recognized and enforceable in New York and is a legal document that outlines the rights and responsibilities of you and your significant other when you are living together. It serves as a roadmap for your shared life, addressing key aspects such as property ownership, financial contributions, and the division of assets in the event of a breakup. A well-drafted cohabitation agreement provides clarity and peace of mind, offering protection and guidance for you both.

Before moving in together, you should take the time to have transparent discussions about financial responsibilities, particularly regarding day-to-day living expenses. Addressing questions about rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, and other household expenses can prevent misunderstandings and conflicts later. Establishing clear guidelines for financial responsibilities will help ensure a harmonious living arrangement from the beginning.

One of the primary purposes of a cohabitation agreement is to safeguard property rights. This is important whether just one partner owns the home you’ll be living in or if you purchased the home together. By specifying how expenses related to property will be shared and outlining what happens to the property in case of a breakup, you can protect your interests and ensure a fair resolution. This includes detailing how contributions to mortgage payments, and responsibilities for maintenance and repairs will be paid and perhaps credited back to the paying party if the relationship ends.

Life is unpredictable, and circumstances can change in an instant. A well-crafted cohabitation agreement includes provisions for contingencies related to property, such as if you or your partner are buying out the other’s share of the home or selling the property. By proactively addressing potential challenges, you can lessen risks and plan for a secure future together.

Beyond property rights, cohabitation agreements also address the division of assets acquired during your relationship. From valuable furniture and artwork to savings accounts and vehicles, you can use the cohabitation agreement to establish clear guidelines for asset division to minimize disputes.  Similarly, a cohabitation agreement can clarify ownership of less valuable, but emotionally charged personal belongings such as books, electronics, furnishings, and other sentimental possessions.

While drafting a cohabitation agreement may seem daunting, legal guidance can make the process more manageable. Consulting with a lawyer specializing in family law ensures that you both understand your rights, navigate complex legal issues, and create a customized agreement that reflects your unique circumstances and priorities related to financial responsibilities, property ownership, and rights.

In essence, a cohabitation agreement is more than just a legal document—it’s a symbol of commitment and mutual respect between partners. By taking proactive steps to protect financial interests and plan for the future, unmarried couples in New York can establish a solid foundation for their shared life together, ensuring stability and peace of mind every step of the way.

At Vacca Family Law Group, we understand the unique challenges of cohabitation agreements. Our collaborative divorce attorneys and mediators can offer tailored advice to help you make informed decisions.

Call us at (646) 798-4603 or contact us online to schedule your free introductory call.

Vacca Family Law Group is located at One Grand Central Place, 60 E. 42nd St., Suite 764, New York, NY 10165.Top of Form