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Co-Habitation Agreements Attorneys in Green Bay, Wisconsin

Thousands of couples in Wisconsin live together without getting married. However, couples living together without being married do not have the same legal protections as married couples in case their relationship breaks down. That is where cohabitation agreements can become useful.  

At Lewis & Van Sickle, LLC, we have extensive experience helping couples draft and execute cohabitation agreements. Our cohabitation agreements attorneys in Green Bay, Wisconsin, can listen to your concerns and help you create an agreement tailored to your specific circumstances, needs, and goals. Our law firm serves clients in Green Bay and the surrounding areas, including Shawano, Oconto, Sturgeon Bay, and Kewaunee. 

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What Is a Cohabitation Agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is a legal contract signed by people who intend to live together as unmarried partners. This agreement allows unmarried couples to regulate their financial and living arrangements, giving both parties clarity and peace of mind during their relationship. Contrary to popular belief, cohabitation agreements are not just for romantic partners. Non-intimate couples and roommates can also enter into these agreements. The contents of cohabitation agreements can vary from one agreement to another, depending on the couple’s unique circumstances.  

Some examples of provisions that can be included in a cohabitation agreement include: 

  • The parties’ financial obligations, including who is responsible for paying the rent, utilities, household expenses, etc. 

  • Each party’s property and debts before moving in together. 

  • How the parties’ common property and debt will be divided if the relationship breaks down. 

  • Whether or not any party will be entitled to alimony if the couple separates. 

  • If there are children, how the parties will split parenting time in the event of separation. 

  • Whether the parties will opt for mediation to resolve disputes if they arise in the future. 

These are just some of the examples of provisions that a cohabitation agreement may contain. The agreement can be written in a manner that reflects the couple’s unique circumstances and goals. However, the cohabitation agreement templates found on the Internet may not allow the couple to customize the contract to fit the specific aspects of their relationship. Those DIY agreements online provide one-size-fits-all solutions that may not reflect the couple’s unique situation. For this reason, you need to contact a cohabitation agreements attorney at Lewis & Van Sickle, LLC, to get help with drafting a legally binding agreement tailored to your specific needs and circumstances.  

Who Needs a Cohabitation Agreement?

Not all couples may need a cohabitation agreement, though having one can help clarify issues and avoid problems in the long run. When considering whether or not you need a cohabitation agreement, ask yourself these three questions:  

  1. Are you living with your partner but have no plans for marriage in the foreseeable future?  

  1. Did you or your partner have any separate property or debt before moving in together?  

  1. Do you plan on getting a mortgage or accumulating property/debts with your partner?  

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you might want to consider creating a cohabitation agreement. While it is generally a good idea to write a cohabitation agreement before moving in together with your partner, you can still create one if you have already lived together for quite some time.  

Does Wisconsin Recognize Common Law Marriage?

Common law marriage refers to a relationship between two consenting adults who live together and present themselves as a romantic couple without getting legally married. Common law marriage is not recognized in most states, including Wisconsin. The state abolished common law marriage in 1917. Thus, no matter how long an unmarried couple has lived together, their relationship will not be considered a common law marriage. 

Are Cohabitation Agreements Legally Binding in Wisconsin?

While cohabitation agreements are not recognized by law in Wisconsin, unmarried couples can still use them to protect themselves and safeguard their rights in case their relationship falls apart. Consulting with an attorney is important to understand the potential limitations of cohabitation agreements and ways you can make the contract legally binding and enforceable in the state of Wisconsin.  

Cohabitation Agreements vs. Prenuptial Agreements: What’s the Difference? 

While both a cohabitation agreement and a prenuptial agreement are legal contracts that share some similarities, they are different because the latter is based on marriage while the former is not. Cohabitation agreements are made between two adults who want to live together without getting married. By contrast, prenuptial agreements (prenups) are made between partners before their marriage. Similar to a cohabitation agreement, a prenup is used to protect the financial interest of each party and address certain aspects of the relationship. 

Co-Habitation Agreements Attorneys in Green Bay, Wisconsin

Creating a cohabitation agreement may feel like a daunting task. Fortunately, you do not have to navigate this process on your own. Our cohabitation agreements attorneys at Lewis & Van Sickle, LLC, in Green Bay can provide you with the legal guidance you need to ensure that your rights are protected and your agreement is legally binding. Schedule an appointment today to discuss how you can achieve lasting peace of mind in your case.