You and your partner may be facing an end to your marriage, but you own property together. How will the division be handled?
You may have a cohabitation agreement that indicates how your property is to be divided. If not, there is another legal remedy to consider.
A practical solution
Cohabitation is often a practical solution for unmarried couples, older couples who have been married before and for gay or lesbian couples. Living together means companionship and financial stability. You can share time with one another and wipe out that feeling of loneliness. You can split the bills with your housemate, which is often a welcome relief. You may also find that there is less pressure on the relationship; you can be happy with each other and honor a commitment without having to enter into the binding agreement of marriage.
To define their rights as well as their responsibilities, some people have a cohabitation agreement. This is a legal document drawn up with the help of an attorney that usually lists jointly held assets like bank accounts or real estate that is held in one or both names. If the relationship ends, the agreement will simplify the division of property.
Ending the relationship
A family law attorney will ensure that in the process of property division, an unmarried or same-sex couple will be treated fairly and respectfully. Factors to be considered during this process include the length of the relationship, assets that have been acquired jointly and whose name is on a lease or piece of property. If a cohabitation agreement is in place, property can be divided according to the instructions in that document. If such an agreement does not exist, property division will have to be managed through what is called a partition action. Although this is a more complex remedy, you can be assured that the outcome will be as equitable as possible.