Free Cohabitation Agreement

If you are planning to move in with your special other, a Cohabitation Agreement can be used to set the terms of the relationship. 

Templates created by legal professionals

Customize your documents quickly & easily

24/7 free phone & email customer support

Trusted by 2,547 users.

update icon

Last Update January 29th, 2024

create

Fill forms in a few steps

print icon

Save, print, & download

time icon

Done in 5 minutes

What Is a Cohabitation Agreement

A Cohabitation Agreement serves as a legally binding document between 2 individuals choosing to share a life as unwed partners.

Unlike marriage where legal entitlements to property division and spousal support are automatically provided, couples living together lack these privileges in the absence of a formalized agreement

A Cohabitation Agreement is purposefully crafted to cater to the needs of romantically involved couples who intend to share a home.

This type of legal form enables non-married couples to clearly articulate their agreed-upon management of property and finances both throughout their relationship and in the event of a separation.

Assuming your Cohabitation Agreement satisfies your state's legal requirements, you can seek the court's assistance in compelling your former partner to honor their contractual obligations, should they choose not to comply.

Other common names used for this type of agreement are:

  • Relationship Agreement

  • Consensual Relationship Agreement

Cohabitation Agreement Legal Requirements

While the specific legal requirements for a Cohabitation Agreement can vary depending on the jurisdiction, several general principles tend to apply universally. 

These include:

  • Written agreement: The agreement must be in writing. Oral agreements are typically harder to enforce and may not be recognized in all jurisdictions.

  • Clear terms: The terms of the agreement should be clear, unambiguous, and comprehensive, covering all aspects of the couple's relationship that the agreement is meant to regulate.

  • Full disclosure: Both parties should fully disclose their respective assets and liabilities. This allows each party to make an informed decision about the agreement.

  • Voluntary and without coercion: Both parties must voluntarily agree without any undue influence, duress, or coercion.

  • Consideration: Like any contract, a Cohabitation Agreement must have consideration, meaning something of value must be exchanged between the parties. This can be mutual promises or the actual cohabitation itself.

  • Signatures: Both parties must sign the agreement, and the signatures should ideally be witnessed.

Cohabitation Agreements are still not legally recognized in some states. Courts in Georgia (Ga. Code § 13-8-1 (2023) and Louisiana may deem them invalid due to moral judgments, while Illinois allows limited enforcement if unrelated to a marriage-like relationship.

What to Include in a Cohabitation Agreement

Crafting a Cohabitation Agreement offers couples the flexibility to tailor its scope to their specific needs, whether it encompasses the entirety of their relationship or focuses on specific transactions, such as purchasing a property. 

The agreement should explicitly outline their preferences regarding property and financial sharing and should include the sections listed below.

Cohabitation

This section should state that both parties have consented to reside together in a committed relationship, sharing a common household at the specified residence throughout their cohabitation.

Joint Expenses

In this part of the form, it is defined how both parties will divide and contribute to shared expenses, such as rent/mortgage, utilities, groceries, and other household-related costs in an equitable manner. 

It is important to note that despite sharing expenses, the parties often maintain separate bank accounts.

Separation

In the event the parties choose to separate, this section establishes a mutually agreed process for handling the distribution of assets, debts, and property acquired during the cohabitation period. 

The parties are committed to ensuring a fair and equitable division and are dedicated to resolving any disagreements through peaceful negotiation or mediation, avoiding the need for litigation.

Custody and Support

If the parties have a child together during their cohabitation, they are dedicated to jointly making decisions regarding custody, visitation, and support. 

Their decisions will always prioritize the best interests of the child, and they will comply with relevant laws and court orders governing custody and support arrangements.

Termination

The agreement shall cease to be in effect automatically if either party enters into marriage with another person or if both parties mutually consent in writing to terminate it. 

Furthermore, the agreement shall be terminated in the event of the death of one of the parties.

Governing Law

This section states that the agreement will be regulated and interpreted based on the laws of the specified state, without considering any conflicting legal provisions.

Binding Effect

Through the parties' signatures included in this section, the agreement becomes legally enforceable. 

It highlights the significance of the agreement and its applicability to all parties mentioned, ensuring that the terms and obligations stated within it carry legal weight and can be upheld by the appropriate authorities.

Including these issues within a Cohabitation Agreement ensures clarity and transparency, enabling couples to proactively manage their financial and property matters.

How to Write a Cohabitation Agreement

Drafting a Cohabitation Agreement allows unmarried couples to establish clear guidelines and address important aspects of their shared life. 

Follow the steps below to write an effective Cohabitation Agreement:

Parties and effective date: Identify the parties involved by including their full names, current addresses, and the effective date of the agreement.

Recitals: Describe the committed, unmarried relationship of the parties, their intention to live together, and their desire to establish rights, responsibilities, and provisions for children born or adopted during cohabitation.

Cohabitation: Specify the agreement for living together in a committed relationship and sharing a household at the designated address.

Living costs: List the expenses the parties will share.

Separation: Address the division of assets, debts, and property in case of terminating the relationship.

Custody and support: Establish joint decision-making for custody, visitation, and support arrangements based on the child's best interest. 

Termination: Clearly define events that lead to automatic termination.

Compliance: Specify the state whose laws will govern and interpret the agreement.

Validity: State that the agreement is binding upon the parties involved.

Execution: Include a signature block where both parties can sign and date the agreement.

Remember, each cohabitation relationship is unique, so customize the agreement to reflect your specific circumstances.

Use our step-by-step form builder to write your document and avoid critical mistakes that could make it unenforceable.

Rights of Cohabitation Couples

The rights of unwed couples living together can vary depending on the state or jurisdiction, as there is no uniform federal law governing cohabitation relationships

However, the following are some general considerations you should take into account when writing your document:

Property rights

Cohabiting couples generally do not enjoy the same automatic property rights as married couples. Each partner usually retains ownership of the assets they individually acquire unless they explicitly agree otherwise.

Financial obligations

While cohabiting couples are generally not subject to the same financial obligations as married couples, such as spousal support or alimony, they do have responsibilities on shared financial matters that they have mutually agreed upon.

Healthcare and insurance

Partners who live together often do not have the same rights to each other's healthcare or insurance benefits as married couples. Certain states may acknowledge domestic partnerships or establish alternative legal avenues to grant specific rights and benefits.

Parental rights

In cases where cohabiting couples have children together, both partners may have parental rights and responsibilities. However, these rights can still vary depending on state laws and may require additional legal steps to establish or protect these rights.

End-of-Relationship matters

Unlike divorce, there is typically no legal framework specifically designed for the dissolution of a cohabitation relationship. Therefore, unwed couples living together need to rely on contractual agreements to address property division, custody, and support matters in case of separation.

To ensure the protection of their interests, unmarried couples living together should be aware that legal rights and obligations differ from those of married couples and the need for well-defined agreements to address these matters effectively.

Cohabitation Agreement Sample

Completing a Cohabitation Agreement template can prove tricky without a reliable reference point

Review our Cohabitation Agreement sample below before you begin to make the process of writing your own document more simple.

view preview icon
Cohabitation Agreement Sample

Other Personal and Family Documents

A Cohabitation Agreement is an essential legal document that outlines the terms of your partnership and provides a contingency plan in the event of a breakup.

In addition to this, our expert legal document-making tools can help you create other helpful forms such as the following:

FAQs About Cohabitation Agreement

For a better insight into the workings of a Cohabitation Agreement, we've prepared a comprehensive FAQ section. 

Browse through to address any uncertainties about defining terms with your partner and measures to take should the relationship end.

Is a Cohabitation Agreement Legally Binding?

Yes, a Cohabitation Agreement can be legally binding, provided it is executed correctly. This means it should be in writing, signed by both parties and ideally witnessed by an attorney. 

It's important to note that the enforceability of such agreements can vary based on jurisdiction, so it's recommended to use a legally proofed relationship agreement template like ours when drafting one.

How Can I Get a Cohabitation Agreement Template?

You can get a Cohabitation Agreement template from a local attorney, although this alternative may prove to be quite costly.

We recommend that you use our expertly prepared free Cohabitation Agreement template to ensure it complies with all required legal stipulations. Our forms are legally proofed by law professionals and can be customized to address your unique circumstances and preferences.

view preview icon
Cohabitation Agreement Sample

You are only a few steps away from your own Cohabitation Agreement!


Download our professional examples

Preview of your Cohabitation Agreement

COHABITATION AGREEMENT
THIS COHABITATION AGREEMENT (the "Agreement") is executed on this ________ day of ________________, ________.

BETWEEN:
_________

of _________

- AND -

_________

of _________
BACKGROUND

A. This Agreement is entered into by _________ and _________ (referred to collectively as the "Parties" and individually as a "Party"), both currently residing in a non-marital cohabitation arrangement, without any present intention to marry.
B. The Parties commenced or are expected to commence their non-marital cohabitation around the ________ day of ________________, ________.
C. The Parties wish to enter into this Agreement to establish guidelines for the status, ownership, and division of property between them. This includes any future property owned or to be acquired by either or both of them.
D. The Parties also seek to define their respective rights and liabilities arising from this relationship.
E. The Parties acknowledge the potential for disagreements that may arise between them. Consequently, the Parties wish to establish that the distribution of any property owned by either or both of them will be guided by the provisions of this Agreement. They expressly intend that, to the extent allowed by statutory or case law, any statutes applying to them under Federal or State legislation will not govern their arrangement.
F. Each Party has engaged their own legal counsel and obtained independent legal advice concerning the terms of this Agreement.
G. The Parties have satisfactorily disclosed to each other all assets and liabilities that each party may have.
NOW THEREFORE, in anticipation of the forthcoming cohabitation and in consideration of the mutual promises and covenants outlined in this Agreement, the Parties hereby agree as follows:
OWNERSHIP OF PROPERTY

1) The Parties agree that this Agreement will determine the ownership of the property upon the death of a party or if the Parties separate.
2) All jointly acquired property, will be treated as shared property (the "Shared Property") and remain the property of both Parties.
3) Except as otherwise provided in this Agreement, all property will be treated as owned exclusively by either one of the Parties (the "Separate Ownership"), except where:

a. It is Joint Ownership; or
b. There is proof of joint legal ownership.
4) Nothing contained in this Agreement shall preclude the Parties from making gifts to the other during their lifetime, at their death, or for benefit of the other party.
5) Unless a Party can reasonably show that they exclusively own a piece of property, where either Party commingles jointly owned property with Separate Ownership, any commingled property will be presumed to be Joint Ownership.
DEBTS

6) The Parties acknowledge that this Agreement shall determine the responsibility of any debt that may occur upon the death of a party or if the Parties separate.
7) All debts jointly acquired, whenever acquired, will be treated as joint debts (the "Joint Debts") and owed by both Parties.
8) Except as stated elsewhere in this Agreement, all debts shall be considered as debts owed exclusively by either one of the Parties (the "Separate Debts"), except where:

a. If there is a Joint Debt; or
b. If there is proof of joint legal responsibility between the Parties.
SUPPORT
9) The Parties mutually agree that any investment of time or labor concerning personal service within each other's property or otherwise, will be considered a gratuitous contribution unless otherwise specified in writing indicating a contrary agreement.
10) The Parties express their intention to permanently release each other from any present or future support obligations, no matter how their circumstances may change. They will not seek support under any legislation, both presently and in the future, and will also waive any entitlement to pursue the other for support under any law or statute and rely on the principles of contract law to govern this matter.
11) The Parties realize the potential for changes in their financial circumstances in the future due to factors such as health, cost of living, employment, marital status, relationship breakdown, or other reasons. No such changes will give either Party the right to seek support under any legislation. It is understood by each Party that this Agreement constitutes a conclusive resolution of all support matters between them.
ESTATES AND WILL ARRANGEMENTS
12) This Agreement shall not limit or affect any rights that each Party may acquire as a cohabitant concerning the property, assets, or estate of the other cohabitant.
13) This Agreement does not prohibit either Party from designating the other as a beneficiary through a will or any other testamentary disposition.
SEVERABILITY

14) Suppose any term or provision of this Agreement is invalid, illegal, or unenforceable in any jurisdiction. In that case, such invalidity, illegality, or unenforceability shall not affect any other term or provision of this Agreement or invalidate or render unenforceable such term or provision in any other jurisdiction. Upon such determination that any term or other provision is invalid, illegal, or unenforceable, the Parties agree that the specific portion shall be considered amended, reduced in scope, or otherwise stricken only to the extent necessary for the Agreement's continued validity and enforceability in the jurisdiction of such determination.
INTENTION OF THE PARTIES

15) Notwithstanding that the Parties acknowledge and agree that their circumstances at the execution of this Agreement may change for many reasons, including, without limitation, the passage of time, it is their unequivocal intention to steadfastly adhere to the terms of this Agreement under all circumstances.
FURTHER DOCUMENTATION

16) The Parties mutually agree to provide and execute any additional documentation as reasonably necessary to give full force and effect to each provision within this Agreement.
ENUREMENT

17) This Agreement shall be binding upon and inure to the benefit of the Parties and their respective heirs, executors, administrators, successors, and assigns.
GOVERNING LAW

18) This Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Alabama without regard to its conflicts of law provisions.
TERMINATION OR AMENDMENT

19) This Agreement may only be terminated or amended through written consent by both Parties, with their signatures affixed.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF the Parties have executed this Cohabitation Agreement on the ________ day of ________________, ________.

SIGNED, SEALED, AND DELIVERED
In the presence of:


_____________________________
Witness Signature
Printed Name: _________________


_____________________________
Witness Signature
Printed Name: _________________
_____________________________
_________


_____________________________
Witness Signature
Printed Name: _________________


_____________________________
Witness Signature
Printed Name: _________________
_____________________________
_________
CERTIFICATE OF INDEPENDENT LEGAL ADVICE

THE STATE OF Alabama
COUNTY OF ___________________


I, ____________, of the City of ___________________, in the State of Alabama, Attorney, DO HEREBY CERTIFY:

THAT I was this day consulted in my professional capacity by _________, named in the within instrument, being a Cohabitation Agreement, separate and apart from _________, as to _________'s legal rights and liabilities under the terms and conditions of it, and that I acted solely for _________, and explained fully to _________ the nature and effect of the said Cohabitation Agreement and _________ did execute it in my presence, and did acknowledge and declare that _________ was executing it of _________'s own volition and without any fear, threats, compulsion or influence from _________, or any other person.

DATED at the City of ___________________, in the State of Alabama this ____________ day of _________, 20___.


________________________
ATTORNEY


Print Name: _____________

I, _________, the person named in the annexed Agreement, hereby acknowledges the foregoing this ____day of ______________20___.


________________________
_________
CERTIFICATE OF INDEPENDENT LEGAL ADVICE

THE STATE OF Alabama
COUNTY OF ___________________


I, ____________, of the City of ___________________, in the State of Alabama, Attorney, DO HEREBY CERTIFY:

THAT I was this day consulted in my professional capacity by _________, named in the within instrument, being a Cohabitation Agreement, separate and apart from _________, as to _________'s legal rights and liabilities under the terms and conditions of it, and that I acted solely for _________, and explained fully to _________ the nature and effect of the said Cohabitation Agreement and _________ did execute it in my presence, and did acknowledge and declare that _________ was executing it of _________'s own volition and without any fear, threats, compulsion or influence from _________, or any other person.

DATED at the City of ___________________, in the State of Alabama this ____________ day of _________, 20___.


________________________
ATTORNEY


Print Name: _________________

I, _________, the person named in the annexed Agreement, hereby acknowledge the foregoing this ____day of ______________20___.


________________________
_________
Try LawDistrict Now

Instant and complete access to our entire library of legal forms

Edit, download and print in PDF and Word format from any device

Save time and money on legal document creation

Lawdistrict.com offers several models of legal documents for different necessities. By responding to a set of questions through our online document editor you can easily complete and obtain your customized legal document. Please be advised: we are not a law firm and, therefore, cannot provide any official legal advice. If further legal assistance is required, we recommend that you contact an attorney or a law firm specializing in the matter. Our private services are provided for a fee, that in no event includes lawyer, attorney, notary public or registrar fees. The user takes sole responsibility for the use of the legal documents provided. By paying and using our private services you confirm that you acknowledge the above statements.

© Copyright 2024 www.lawdistrict.com All Rights Reserved.