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Seasoned Counsel for Unmarried Couples in Suffolk & Nassau Counties
Not all couples choose to get married. In New York, those who are unmarried are not afforded the same rights and protections under New York State family law should their relationship dissolve. If you are in a close and loving relationship with no desire to be married, it is advised that you contact an attorney at our firm to help you draft a cohabitation agreement.
How Does a Cohabitation Agreement Work?
Similar to a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, a cohabitation agreement is a legal contract between two people regarding the responsibilities and obligations toward one another if the relationship ends.
Unlike prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, cohabitation agreements are not between two people who are married; instead, they are between those who choose to protect their interests while remaining unmarried.
Assets Affected by Cohabitation Agreements
In the state of New York, if an unmarried relationship is terminated, there is no law regarding resolution of interests or claims. When a cohabitation agreement is drafted, you and your partner will determine a fair division of property, debts and other assets that have been acquired throughout the course of the relationship. This agreement is protected under New York Contract Law.
Some situations in which a cohabitation agreement may be considered are situations involving:
- Bank accounts
- Real estate
- Household expenses
- Educational expenses
- Business affairs
Our lawyers can help you legally express terms of support and rights for one another through drafting a cohabitation agreement. Since this is a legal contract, there are rules involved with drafting the agreement, so it is essential that an attorney makes certain the contract is legally enforceable.
Does New York Recognize Common Law Marriage?
New York does not recognize common-law marriages.
Even if you have been living together for over 10 years or several decades, you do not have the same rights as a legally married couple. Having children, using identical surnames, and living together will not qualify a couple for a common-law marriage.
Obtaining a cohabitation agreement acts similarly to a prenuptial agreement, and can afford you some of these rights. However, if you were to get a legal common-law marriage from another state, it would hold up as valid in New York. Proving this is rather easy, as minimal contacts from the state recognizing the common-law marriage are needed.
An alternative to a common-law marriage can be a domestic partnership, which New York does recognize as legal. There are a few steps involved when filing for a domestic partnership, such as proving residency and the age of both parties.
Does Palimony Exist in New York State?
Palimony is a term used to describe a court-ordered financial support provided by one partner to another after the end of a non-marital relationship, similar to alimony in a divorce. In New York, there is no statute or law that provides for palimony, and therefore no automatic right to financial support for a former partner after a non-marital relationship ends. However, unmarried couples may still take steps to protect their interests. While oral agreements or any kind of implied contract based on living together will not be recognized, it is advisable for individuals who are in non-marital relationships to consider creating a written agreement outlining their financial rights and responsibilities to each other, especially if they intend to rely on financial support from their partner in the future.
Hedayati Law Group P.C. can answer any additional questions you may have about your rights as an unmarried cohabitating person in New York. Call (631) 880-6440 now to consult an attorney. Serving clients in Melville, Manhattan, and Southampton!