Marriage is the first thing most people think of when discussing the future of a long-term relationship. While this is certainly a valid option, it isn’t the only one. Cohabitation agreements can check some of the boxes you’re looking for while avoiding any financial ties associated with marriage. It is recommended to contact an estate planning attorney to discover which choice is right for you and your partner. In this article, you will discover a cohabitation agreement and its differences between traditional marriages, common law marriages, and prenuptial agreements.
A cohabitation agreement is a legal agreement between two people stating their intentions with their financial assets, property, and more. This serves as an understanding between the two parties that can be agreed upon in the eyes of the court. A cohabitation agreement is ideal for couples who want to set boundaries with their assets without the time and money that goes into a traditional marriage. Couples can also utilize a cohabitation agreement to avoid being common-law married in Oklahoma.
There may be some confusion regarding the differences between a cohabitation agreement and a traditional marriage. Many may view them as the same thing, but this is not exactly the case. A traditional marriage is a legally recognized union between two people. It can only be broken in court, while a cohabitation agreement is a legal agreement between two individuals living in the same household. Cohabitation agreements can be created anytime and anywhere. This agreement is in place until the relationship ends or if an individual passes away during the relationship.
Only a few states in the United States recognize common law marriages, and Oklahoma is one of them. Though Oklahoma still allows this type of marriage, they do not provide a set time for when a common law marriage begins. If a common law married couple was married in another state and moves to Oklahoma, the state will recognize their marriage. Like traditional marriages and cohabitation agreements, both parties in a common law marriage must live in the same household, handle their financial assets, and be 18 or older. In Oklahoma, a common law married couple must be financially interdependent, of age, eligible for marriage, and live together. The main difference between marriage and cohabitation agreements is how they end. Cohabitation agreements are easy to break and may not require court time. Marriages, even common law, are required to settle the divorce in court, costing time and money for both parties.
A prenuptial agreement, or prenup, is a mutual understanding between two parties before getting married concerning what should happen to their assets should they divorce. Though they may seem similar in their first stages, a prenuptial agreement eventually leads to a standard marriage. Prenuptial agreements generally protect financial assets should the marriage end in divorce. Cohabitation agreements are also typically used to protect financial assets, among other things, but they do not lead to marriage. The only significant difference between prenuptial and cohabitation agreements is that cohabitation agreements are used when a couple does not want to be legally married, while couples using prenuptial agreements do.
One of the main benefits of a cohabitation agreement is the time and resources saved if the relationship ends. It is strongly recommended to get this agreement before the court with the help of an attorney. Some people use a cohabitation agreement to avoid eventually being common law married.
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