Arizona is a community property state. In most cases, debts and assets acquired during the marriage will be divided equally between the spouses upon divorce or dissolution of marriage. However, unmarried couples who share a residence can protect their respective interests in any real estate they own together by entering into a written cohabitation agreement. A cohabitation agreement serves as a written contract that defines how a residence will be held and used while unmarried couples live together.
In general terms, a cohabitation agreement is designed to make precise arrangements about the living arrangements of unmarried people who are engaged in an ongoing relationship outside of marriage. The terms of such contracts typically outline how much money each person contributes toward rent or mortgage payments, how bills and expenses will be allocated, and what percentage each person owns in the property.
One of the primary reasons for drafting a cohabitation agreement is that it can help to provide clarity and certainty about your legal rights should the relationship end. It also helps to protect against any future claims of entitlement to an interest in real estate. If you are considering entering into such an agreement with a friend or lover, make sure you both consult with independent counsel before signing any documents. Cohabitation agreements must comply with state laws governing such matters as unfair trade practices and unconscionable actions (if enforced).
Most states require at least two parties to a cohabitation contract; therefore, you cannot draft a binding agreement on your own. Arizona is no exception to this rule. The parties to a deal also must be competent to enter into the contract, meaning that they are old enough and of sound mind under all of the circumstances presented by the particular case. Anyone who lacks capacity or cannot understand the nature of the contract will not be bound by it.
Arizona courts will enforce cohabitation agreements if it finds them fair and equitable at the time of enforcement. This means that any petition for enforcement cannot be filed more than one year after either party knew or should have known about a possible breach in the agreement. Another essential requirement is that both parties showed complete disclosure negotiations on all matters covered by their contract. In addition, the contract must be written and signed by both parties.
Community property division upon dissolution of a cohabitation agreement is not governed by Arizona’s state statutes or case law. Instead, it is up to the parties themselves to define how their property will be divided under any specific circumstances that may come about in the future. A lack of clarity and certainty about how property will be divided can lead to severe legal disputes during and after a breakup. That is why every state encourages unmarried couples who live together to enter into cohabitation agreements if they want some measure of guidance when dealing with issues such as property division at the end of a relationship. More importantly, Arizona courts enforce such contracts according to our modern notions of fairness and equity.
Cohabitation agreements are designed to ensure that property would be distributed relatively if the relationship ends. The delay between becoming aware of a breach and filing suit can lead to severe hardship for one of the parties, especially if they have inadequate legal representation. If you fail to comply with any terms included in your cohabitation agreement, Arizona courts will not enforce them for you. However, there is no requirement that a judge holds a hearing on the matter before deciding whether or not to implement those provisions contained within an agreement signed by both parties. In other words, one party cannot simply refuse to abide by the terms outlined in a deal without further consequences from either court or both parties as outlined in their cohabitation agreement.
To be as clear as possible about what you intend for your relationship with another person, both parties should draft a cohabitation agreement. This document provides a definitive record of how each party feels about specific issues and clarifies any uncertainties or misunderstandings in the relationship. If you choose to take this step towards a better understanding of your rights during and after your cohabitation ends, make sure their legal counsel represents both sides before signing any contracts. It also would not hurt to have an experienced family law attorney review the agreement on your behalf before committing to its terms. It only takes one misunderstanding between partners to cost thousands of dollars in legal fees later on.
It is never easy coming up with legal contracts. And when it comes to cohabitation agreements, it’s even more challenging – especially if you are not well versed in how these work. These types of arrangements can protect both parties from something going wrong down the road, whether that means a breakup or the death of one partner.
Many people choose to draft their cohabitation agreements, but this does not always end well for either party involved. An attorney will almost always be able to do a better job of ensuring everything goes smoothly and everyone knows what is expected.
Here are some benefits you get from hiring a family law attorney:
Writing up this type of contract will ensure that both partners are on the same page and have written down everything they need to know. This can not only avoid disagreements down the road, but it’s an essential part of building a foundation for any future marriage. Hiring an attorney can help eliminate any stress or confusion so you can spend less time worrying about these issues and more time enjoying each other.
Cohabitation agreements are certainly nothing to take lightly, which is why you should always have legal counsel involved in the process. There are many benefits associated with hiring someone to draft one for you, which will make this big step a lot easier. As Jensen Family Law family law attorneys in Mesa AZ, we have over 30 years combined experience with cohabitation agreements and would be happy to help you with your own contractual needs. Contact us at our Mesa office to get started with your cohabitation agreement today.
Jensen Family Law in Mesa
3740 E Southern Ave #210,
Mesa, AZ 85206
Jensen Family Law in Mesa is located on 3740 E Southern Ave Suite 210, 85206 Mesa, Arizona. From Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), Take S 41st St to E Sky Harbor Blvd, then head west on E Sky Harbor Blvd and Use the left lane to take the exit toward S 41st St. Then Turn right onto S 41st St. After that, Continue straight to stay on S 41st St, then Take AZ-202 Loop E, AZ-101 Loop S and US-60 E to S Val Vista Dr in Mesa. Take exit 184 from US-60 E after that Merge onto E Sky Harbor Blvd, then Use the left 2 lanes to merge onto AZ-202 Loop E toward Tempe/Mesa and Use the right 3 lanes to take exit 9 to merge onto AZ-101 Loop S. After that, Use the right 2 lanes to take exit 55A-B to merge onto US-60 E toward Globe, then Take exit 184 for Val Vista Dr. Then Continue on S Val Vista Dr to your destination and Turn left onto S Val Vista Dr. Turn right onto E Southern Ave, then Turn left and Destination will be on the right.
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