Tennessee Cohabitation Agreements

By Jim Thomas

Cohabitation -- individuals living together outside marriage -- is a growing trend in America. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, roughly 500,000 couples cohabited in 1970, while that the number rose to 5.5 million in 2000. Although cohabitation was illegal in many states in America in the 20th century, there are only a small number of holdouts at the time of publication. There is no prohibition against cohabitation in Tennessee. A cohabitation agreement doesn't give you the same rights as married people, but it can assist you in many ways whether you stay together or end your relationship.

Common Law Marriage

Tennessee does not recognize common law marriages. If you are living together in Tennessee, even for decades, you do not have any of the rights afforded to married people. The best way to ensure equitable treatment and safeguard you interests is to sign a cohabitation agreement because separation for an unmarried couple can be equally emotional and as financially difficult as a divorce for a married couple. Unfortunately, the rules governing divorces do not apply to unmarried persons. Cohabitation agreements, however, can provide unmarried couples with rules regarding their possible separation.

Cohabitation Agreements

Cohabitation agreements usually deal with money issues, such as payment of debts and expenses, property distribution issues and custody issues if children are involved. But they also afford rights to couples staying together. For example, cohabitation agreements often grant powers of attorney between the parties to ensure that they can make medical and financial decisions for each other if one party is incapacitated. Generally, the parties can agree to anything they want as long as it is legal, such as custody of a pet if the couple splits up.

Get a free, confidential bankruptcy evaluation. Learn More

Enforceable Agreements

Most cohabitation agreements in Tennessee and other states are enforceable in court if one party violates it. If both parties willingly enter into the agreement, have it witnessed and notarized, it will generally be treated as a binding contract by the courts. If the agreement does not provide fair division of assets and debts, it may not be enforceable. In many jurisdictions, oral and implied agreements between the parties are much less likely to be enforced. Cohabitation situations that involve sexual favors in return for financial support sometimes are considered illegal and unenforceable.

Preparing An Agreement

A cohabitation agreement should be presented as a formal, written contract. If your situation presents complicated issues, such as complex matters involving property or children, it is advisable to seek the advice of an attorney. You can also use an online document preparation website to create the agreement for you.

Get a free, confidential bankruptcy evaluation. Learn More
Cohabitation Laws on Breakups & Assets
 

References

Related articles

What Are the Benefits of Legal Separation Vs. Divorce?

Legal separation and divorce are two options for married couples who wish to part ways. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 34 percent of marriage relationships ended in divorce as of 2011, making this an increasingly significant issue. Legal separation offers married couples with serious relationship issues an opportunity to separate, just as they would in a divorce, but without the legal finality provided by a divorce. This provides a number of benefits to spouses and families.

Divorce & Legal Separation Laws in Pennsylvania

Technically, Pennsylvania’s statutes contain no mention of "legal separation." This is a bit misleading, however, because the state does recognize at least the concept of legal separation. If you and your spouse can agree to the terms of your separation in a written agreement, the state considers it binding upon both of you.

DIY Prenup in California

A prenuptial agreement is an agreement that outlines the property rights of a couple who intend to marry in the event that they later separate. In some but not all cases, the terms of a prenuptial agreement prevail over state law requirements concerning the disposition of property of couples that separate or divorce. Couples often sign prenuptial agreements when one spouse is considerably wealthier than the other. In California, Sections 1610-1617 of the California Family Code govern prenuptial agreements. It is possible to draft a binding prenuptial agreement without the assistance of a lawyer.

Bankruptcy

Related articles

Definition of a Legal Separation in Iowa

Couples sometimes opt for legal separation rather than divorce because of religious beliefs held by one or both ...

Connecticut Divorce Law and Domestic Partners

Domestic partnerships, known as civil unions in Connecticut, no longer exist as such in the state. In 2009, the ...

Does a Will Supersede a Prenuptial Agreement in Indiana?

Indiana prenuptial agreements are governed by the Uniform Premarital Agreements Act, according to Indiana Code 31-11-3. ...

Can You Get Divorced in Maryland While Living Together?

Although Maryland technically recognizes no-fault divorce, Maryland's laws are not as progressive as some other ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED