Gay and lesbian partners treat each other like family, even though California law still does not allow them to marry each other. California does permit domestic partnerships however and the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers has recently noted a rise in couples seeking cohabitation agreements by 39 percent.
These agreements are not only key to establishing the rights and responsibilities of each partner, but they additionally serve as a guide throughout the relationship. And, should things eventually turn toward a breakup, proper expectations for the division of property and assets are already laid out within them.
Domestic partnership attorneys can assist in making the cohabitation agreement a legal, binding document. It will designate property, assign assets as the couple sees fit, and establish roles for parenting and child custody should that be relevant. The agreement will also define how property and assets will be divided should a separation or death occur. Essentially, same sex couples are creating the equivalent of a premarital or prenuptial agreement with the cohabitation document, and many LGBT couples are wise to have this agreement in place before registering their domestic partnership with the state.
A cohabitation agreement is also a fantastic way to have an open conversation about finances. Some partners might bring certain debts or big assets to the relationship that need to be discussed. A frank conversation about how credit cards will be handled, how money should be set aside for savings, and whether to keep accounts separate or joined is relevant to have. Goal setting is appropriate too, so any future property purchases and business ventures should be discussed. Domestic couples will most likely want to update the cohabitation agreement should a big step like this occur to protect each other’s rights.
In tandem with the cohabitation agreement, it’s wise to create estate planning documents so a couple can actually transfer property and assets should death occur. A will, living trust and power of attorney can be easily created by the same attorney in California.
Without these key agreements and documents, your life’s work could wind up in court and your partner could have to engage in a courtroom battle to keep assets, oftentimes ending up in the middle of a family squabble too. Creditors could also come after the surviving spouse for debts.
Each partner is advised to hire a separate California domestic partnership lawyer to create, review and sign the cohabitation agreement. Los Angeles domestic partnership lawyer Anthony Spotora commonly counsels same-sex couples to create cohabitation agreements, estate plans, and qualified domestic relationship orders. The Law Offices of Spotora & Associates, P.C., is skilled in making sure the financial issues, tax concerns, and each partner’s rights are upheld. Their expertise will safeguard your wishes during the partnership and the livelihood of your estate and heirs.
For more information:
Law Offices of Spotora & Associates, P.C.
1801 Century Park East, 24th Floor
Los Angeles, California 90067-2302
P (310) 556.9641
F (310) 556.9642
Toll Free: (877) 4U-EZ-LEGAL