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Unmarried couples and property division

Readers of this blog know that with divorce comes a whole host of family law issues. Property division, child custody and child support are all matters that need to be addressed and oftentimes are hotly contested. However, less well understood is that fact that unmarried couples in Louisiana can face similar legal issues. As more couples are putting off marriage, whether to find financial stability, avoid divorce or for some other reason, handling these legal matters becomes increasingly important. Therefore, this week we wanted to briefly touch on some family law issues unmarried couples may face upon their break up.

A couple that has lived together for a long time and has, or is considering, acquiring real estate, should consider entering into a property agreement. This document can spell out how property will be divided should the couple split. By having such an agreement in place, a couple can ensure their property rights are protected and, should the couple break up, they can avoid lengthy, emotionally charged legal battles.

This agreement, sometimes referred to as a cohabitation property agreement, should include certain specific information. All assets should be listed specifying who owns them. Additionally, the agreement should clarify how income and expenses will be shared or if they will not be shared. The same is true for bank accounts and credit cards. Also, a couple should be sure to state how newly acquired property will be owned. And lastly, the agreement needs to specify how assets will be divided and distributed upon a break up, as well as the process for resolving property rights issues.

This is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the legal issues unmarried couples may face. In future blog posts, we will discuss additional legal matters that may require the assistance of a family law attorney. Unmarried couples in Louisiana who find themselves facing these situations may find that an experienced attorney can help them ensure they reach as fair of a resolution as is possible under the circumstances.

Source: FindLaw, "Cohabitation Property Rights for Unmarried Couples," accessed on Aug. 15, 2015

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