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Cohabitation agreements versus prenuptial agreements

If you and your partner live together before or instead of getting married, it is wise to consider creating a cohabitation agreement that outlines who gets what pieces of property and how you'll divide commingled funds if you split up. Unfortunately, many people confuse cohabitation agreements with prenuptial agreements, which is a risky mistake to make.

A cohabitation agreement only applies to couples who are not married. In the event that you and your partner choose to get married, the marriage will nullify the cohabitation agreement entirely. If you want some aspects of the agreement to transfer into your marriage (and you probably do), then it is necessary to create an entirely separate prenuptial agreement. However, cohabitation agreements do have a greater degree of flexibility in that you may create it at any time before or after moving in together.

In contrast, prenuptial agreements cannot take effect until a marriage is official. While most of the tenets of a prenuptial agreement do not take effect until and unless divorce occurs, some components, such as using a prenuptial agreement to protect a spouse from your personal debt, can take effect when the marriage is official. A prenuptial agreement must be completed prior to marriage, and will mostly take effect only in the event of divorce, or legal separation, in some cases.

If you believe that a cohabitation or prenuptial agreement is right for your relationship, you should consult with an experienced attorney who understands the specifics of Kentucky laws and how to protect couples' rights and privileges through the strength of the law.

Source: Findlaw, "Validity of Living Together Contracts," accessed July 07, 2017

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