Marriage is an institution that not everyone wants to be a part of, but it does have certain benefits. If you have someone you consider to be your life partner, but you do not want to consider marriage, there are other options. One option is a cohabitation or domestic partnership agreement.
Why would we need a cohabitation agreement?
Under Indiana law, a couple can live together for years, but not share the same legal benefits. These include making healthcare decisions, receiving comparable amounts of property at separation or if one partner passes away.
What types of matters do cohabitation agreements cover?
Enter a cohabitation agreement as a contract between the two partners to establish agreements for current living situations, like who pays how much of the mortgage, car payment. It could also establish agreements on future issues, like property division and child custody, if you are separated or one of you dies.
Modern life also involves debt, so debts can also be important to consider, as can healthcare decisions, should one of you be incapacitated or become severely ill.
First steps and final thoughts
Contracts like these may not be typical, but please consider them if you live with a partner but are not married. Probate courts may refuse to consider a relationship not defined through legal marriage. A cohabitation agreement may benefit the surviving partner in this instance.
Marriage is not for everyone, but protecting your interests and wishes should always be for everyone. Consider drafting a cohabitation agreement and having it reviewed for validity with Indiana law.