Archive for the ‘Cohabitation Agreements’ Category

Cohabitation and Your Rights to Your Home and Your Children Following a Break Up

April 1st, 2015 at 5:22 pm

property rights, cohabitation agreements, Illinois Family Law AttorneyToday, it is not uncommon for unmarried couples to live together, purchase real estate and other property together, and have children. Many individuals live with their partners for decades without marrying. However, choosing cohabitation comes with unique challenges. When a couple gets married, they get certain legal protections. These protections include the right to share property such as their home and their bank accounts and the assumption that any children born to the couple are biologically related to their father, allowing him to seek custody and child support without having to prove his paternity if the relationship deteriorates.

If you are not married, you will need to sign certain documents to assert your rights to your home and your child. Talk to your attorney about your obligations as an unmarried parent or homeowner and how to protect yourself in the event your relationship ends.

Child Support and Custody for Unmarried Parents

If a child’s parents are not married when he or she was born, paternity must be established through a Voluntary Acknowledgement  of Paternity or through an order from the court . This is required by the Illinois Parentage Act of 1984.

Once a child’s paternity is established, either parent may seek child support from the other. This also entitles the father to add his name to the child’s birth certificate and seek custody or visitation rights with the child. Until paternity is established, the father is considered to be the child’s “alleged father.”

Tenancy Options for Unmarried Homeowners

When an unmarried couple decides to buy a house together, they need to establish an agreement regarding the type of shared tenancy they will have. There are two options available for unmarried homeowners: joint tenancy, and tenants-in-common.

With a joint tenancy agreement, the couple has an equal right to use and enjoy the home. If they break up and decide to sell the house, each partner is entitled to half of its value. If one partner dies, the other is entitled to take over full ownership of the home.

In a tenants-in-common agreement, the partners can have different percentages worth of ownership of their home. This may be based on the amount of money each contributed to purchasing it or the amount of maintenance each partner puts into the household. With this type of agreement, an individual’s share of the house becomes part of his or her estate, not his or her partner’s property, upon his or her death.

Regardles of type of ownership you choose, it will also be wise to an agreement about how the household expenses will be paid. Which agreement you choose depends on your relationship and your resources. Talk to both your partner and your attorney about your choices regarding shared ownership of your home to determine which is best for you.

Chicago Family Law Attorneys

To learn more about your rights following a break up, call 312-345-9999 to schedule your free legal consultation with Anderson & Associates, P.C. Our experienced Chicago family law attorneys focus on divorce and family topics and will advocate for you through every step of the legal process. We proudly serve our clients with offices in five convenient locations: Wheaton, Orland Park, Northbrook, Schaumburg, and downtown Chicago.

Research Supports Millennials Prefer to Wait Out Marriage

February 26th, 2015 at 9:51 am

waiting on marriage, Illinois family law attorneyIt has been reported that the millennial generation is gaining ground as the emergent consumer demographic in the United States. However, this generation is also redefining societal views on marriage and divorce. With cross-checked data between the American Community Surveys and the 2000 U.S. Census report, millennials are waiting longer to tie the knot or opting to forgo matrimonial vows all together, adding credence to a changing marital tide.

A recent working paper, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), an American nonprofit research organization, presents data supporting the millennial non-marital movement. Although NBER research found that couples who opt for marriage generally are happier and face life-hardships together to avoid divorce, the research also supports the millennial train of thought in waiting for marriage.

It appears that research across the pond is also producing similar conclusions. NBER researchers reviewed similar data derived from over 1,000 British couples. The data, cross-checked with The United Kingdom’s Annual Population Survey, the British Household Panel Survey, and Gallop World, produced similar findings similar to the NBER review. In the British findings, however, another interesting trend emerged.

By opting to ward off marriage until a later age, or not at all, the British research concluded that if both partners consider their significant other as their best friend that they are happier. There is, in fact, no real rush to tie the knot and non-traditional living arrangements can reap the same benefits as a happy civil union.

In a divorce torn American society, perhaps millennials are on to something. NBER study co-author and University of British Columbia economics professor John Helliwell believes they are. As told to The New York Times, Helliwell suggests that perhaps it is time to rethink the importance placed upon the institution of marriage and rely more on friendship and compassion as the foundation for a successful relationship.

Additional surveys are also arriving at the same conclusion. A 2012 publication, Reexamining the Case for Marriage: Union Formation and Changes in Well-Being from the National Council on Family Relations®, supports that those couples opting to delay marriage evoked a higher level of self-esteem and were generally happier than their married counterparts. However, the study did also reveal that, married or unmarried, if both relationship statuses were based on a foundation of trust and friendship, their levels of a sense of well-being were raised.

If you are revisiting your marital situation because you or your spouse is considering moving on with life, or if you are in need of a cohabitation agreement to protect your assets with your unmarried partner, an experienced Chicago, IL family law attorney at Anderson & Associates, P.C. can help. Our lawyers can meet with you to personally address any legal questions you may have. We have five offices throughout the area: downtown Chicago, Schaumburg, Wheaton, and Northbrook.

Is a Cohabitation Agreement Right for You?

February 12th, 2015 at 9:44 am

cohabitation agreements in Illinois, Chicago family lawyerThere are over 7.5 million unmarried couples cohabiting in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. For some people, marriage is not what they want, and for others, they have already been married and do not want to marry again. No matter what the reason, cohabiting couples in Illinois who decide to separate do not automatically have rights in court like married couples do under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. A cohabitation agreement can help you and your partner state what will happen while you are living together or after your relationship ends.

Illinois does not recognize rights for cohabitating couples, or common law marriages, as Costa v. Oliven demonstrates. In that case, the couple cohabitated for 24 years, building a family and business together, without getting married. They shared property, bank accounts, assets, and had a daughter. Oliven worked while her partner, Costa, stayed home to raise their daughter. When Oliven told Costa to move out of the home they shared, Costa filed a complaint with the court. His complaint and appeal were dismissed because the parties were not married and there was no cohabitation agreement in place.

While the idea of separation is not at the forefront of anyone’s mind when they move in together, you may still want to protect your assets or establish safeguards should anything happen to you or your partner. Without a cohabitation agreement or estate planning documents in place, you likely would not have any legal rights to the assets you have shared or to make decisions on behalf of the other.

You and your partner may want to consider a cohabitation agreement if you:

  • Own property before you start cohabiting;
  • Have children and want or need to define parenting roles;
  • Are considering co-mingling your accounts;
  • Want to name each other as guardian should something happen;
  • Want to clarify what happens to property and assets if you separate or one partner passes away; or
  • Want to state how expenses will be paid.

An experienced family law attorney can help you and your partner state exactly what you want to happen during and after your cohabitation. Should something happen to one of you, you want to ensure your wishes are carried out. They can help you understand what rights you have and how to protect yourself, your partner, and your assets in case of separation, incapacitation or death.

If you have taken the next step in your relationship with your partner and are cohabiting or you are not considering marriage but would like to commit to your partner by other means, contact one of our Chicago cohabitation agreement lawyers today. Anderson & Associates, P.C. assists clients in Illinois from any of our five offices, conveniently located in Chicago, Schaumburg, Wheaton, Northbrook, and Orland Park.