There are many reasons why a couple may decide to cohabit with one another. Cohabitation is often seen as the first step toward getting married, but it can also be less expensive than marriage, or be an option for same-sex couples who cannot legally marry in Kentucky (as of this date). Whatever your reason for cohabitating with your partner, you should both consider the importance of memorializing the agreements of you and your partner in a legally binding document between you because the law may disregard your relationship in the event of a death or breakup. That is why it is important to seek a qualified family law attorney to discuss and draft your cohabitation agreement.
What is Cohabitation?
Cohabitation includes same-sex and heterosexual unmarried couples who are living with one another in a romantic relationship. In Kentucky, no contractual rights or obligations automatically attach to a cohabitation living arrangement. Kentucky also expressly prohibits the recognition of common law marriage. Without a contract between the cohabitants there is usually no way to secure the assistance of court.Cohabitation Complications
Even though intimate partners may regard one another as family members or spouses, the law may not recognize the relationship. If you and your partner breakup, spousal support or equitable property division may not be guaranteed. For example, as indicated in Murphy v. Bowen, 756 S.W.2d 149 (Ky. Ct. App. 1988), the Kentucky Court of Appeals dismissed Ms. Murphy’s claims for her contributions in the property accumulated during the parties’ eleven-year relationship because the “relationship is one from which the common law of Kentucky implies no contractual rights or obligations.”
If you and your partner are living in a cohabitation arrangement and want to protect your respective contributions made to the relationship, contact Sparks Integrative Family Law to discuss the agreement that will best protect you and your partner.