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Virginia

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Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Cohabitation Agreement?A cohabitation agreement is a written agreement between parties who have chosen to live together, without being married.

Our Cohabitation Agreement provides both monetary and emotional security. This Cohabitation Agreement sorts out current and future financial and property issues prior to cohabitation. In general, it sets out who the parties are, what their current assets and liabilities are, and how all current and prospective property will be dealt with in the event of relationship breakdown.

This Agreement also deals with issues such as spousal support, inheritance from one spouse in case of death, and acknowledgment of dependent children.
What if the couple does not live in the same state?If both Parties reside in different states, then usually you should choose the state of the spouse where both Parties will reside after cohabitation (e.g. If one Party resides in California and the other Party resides in Arizona and both will cohabite in California, then select California).

However, if both Parties reside in states other than the one that Parties will reside after cohabitation, then you may select either state that you reside at currently (e.g. If one Party resides in California and the other Party resides in Arizona and both will cohabite in Florida, then select either Arizona or California).
Agreements between cohabitant partners may be regarded as valid only if:
  • each of you has had independent legal advice or you have received legal advice together and have waived the right to independent legal advice;
  • the agreement constitutes a contract; and
  • the agreement has been signed by each of you.
You can use this Cohabitation Agreement if you and your partner are two opposite-sex or same-sex adults who are:
  • not married to each other;
  • not in a registered civil partnership;
  • not related within the prohibited degrees of relationship; and
  • living together in an intimate and committed relationship.


Your Common Law Partner Agreement

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COMMON LAW PARTNER AGREEMENT



THIS COMMON LAW PARTNER AGREEMENT (the "Agreement") dated this 20th day of October, 2017.

BETWEEN:

_____________________
of _________________________, ______________,
Virginia, United States

- AND -

_____________________

of _________________________, ______________,
Virginia, United States

BACKGROUND

  1. This Agreement is made between _____________________ and _____________________ (collectively the "Parties" and individually a "Party") who presently reside or intend to reside together in the future, in a non-marital cohabitation, although there is no present intention to marry.
  2. The Parties' non-marital cohabitation began or would begin on approximately 20th day of October, 2017.
  3. The Parties wish to enter into this Agreement to provide for the status, ownership, and division of property between them, including future property owned or to be acquired by either or both of them.
  4. The Parties further wish to affix their respective rights and liabilities that may result from this relationship.
  5. The Parties recognize the possibility of unhappy differences that may arise between them. Accordingly, the Parties desire that the distribution of any property that either or both of them may own will be governed by the terms of this Agreement and, insofar as the statutory or case law permits, intend that any statutes that may apply to them, either by virtue of Federal or State legislation, will not apply to them.
  6. Each Party has retained their own lawyer and has received independent legal advice regarding the terms of this Agreement.
  7. The Parties acknowledge that neither is under any duress or undue influence of the other, and that they are voluntarily entering into this Agreement.
  8. The Parties have disclosed to the satisfaction of each of them all assets and liabilities that each may have.


NOW THEREFORE in consideration of the upcoming cohabitation arrangement, and in consideration of the mutual promises and covenants contained in this Agreement, the Parties agree as follows:

  1. PROPERTY
  2. The Parties acknowledge that this Agreement will govern any determination of ownership of property that may occur in the event of the Parties separating, or upon the death of a Party.
  3. All jointly acquired or jointly held property and the property listed in the attached Schedule "A", however and whenever acquired, will remain the property of and be owned by both Parties and will be treated as shared property (the "Shared Property").
  4. In the event of the Parties separating, or upon the death of a Party, all Shared Property will be deemed to be owned equally and each Party will be entitled to fifty percent (50%) of the net equity of the property, regardless of the initial or ongoing proportion of each Party's investment, unless the Parties have agreed otherwise in writing.
  5. Except as otherwise provided in this Agreement, all property will be treated as property owned solely by either one of the Parties (the "Separate Property") except where:
    1. it is Shared Property; or
    2. there is proof of shared legal ownership.
  6. Nothing in this Agreement will prevent or invalidate any gift, or transfer for value, from one Party to the other of present or future property.
  7. Unless a Party can reasonably show that they solely own a piece of property, where either Party commingles jointly owned property with Separate Property, any commingled property will be presumed to be Shared Property.
  8. DEBTS
  9. The Parties acknowledge that this Agreement will govern any determination of responsibility of debts that may occur in the event of the Parties separating, or upon the death of a Party.
  10. All jointly acquired or jointly held debts, however and whenever acquired, will remain the debts of and be owed by both Parties and will be treated as shared debts (the "Shared Debts").
  11. Except as otherwise provided in this Agreement, all debts will be treated as debts owed solely by either one of the Parties (the "Separate Debts") except where:
    1. it is Shared Debt; or
    2. there is proof of shared legal responsibility.
  12. SUPPORT
  13. In the event of a separation the Parties agree that support may be payable to one of the Parties on the basis of the Party's financial circumstances at the time of separation or otherwise. It is understood and accepted by each Party that  support will be determined according to the appropriate laws.
  14. ESTATES AND TESTAMENTARY DISPOSITION
  15. Nothing in this Agreement will limit or affect any rights that each may acquire as a cohabitant or cohabitant in the property, assets or estate of the other cohabitant.
  16. Nothing in this Agreement will invalidate or prevent either Party from naming the other as a beneficiary by will or other testamentary disposition.
  17. SEVERABILITY
  18. Should any portion of this Agreement be held by a court of law to be invalid, unenforceable, or void, such holding will not have the effect of invalidating or voiding the remainder of this Agreement, and the Parties agree that the portion so held to be invalid, unenforceable, or void, will be deemed amended, reduced in scope, or otherwise stricken only to the extent required for purposes of validity and enforcement in the jurisdiction of such holding.
  19. INTENTION OF THE PARTIES
  20. Notwithstanding that the Parties acknowledge and agree that their circumstances at the execution of this Agreement may change for many reasons, including but without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the passage of years, it is nonetheless their intention to be bound strictly by the terms of this Agreement at all times.
  21. DUTY OF GOOD FAITH
  22. This Agreement creates a fiduciary relationship between the Parties in which each Party agrees to act with the utmost of good faith and fair dealing toward the other in all aspects of this Agreement.
  23. FURTHER DOCUMENTATION
  24. The Parties agree to provide and execute such further documentation as may be reasonably required to give full force and effect to each term of this Agreement.
  25. TITLE/HEADINGS
  26. The headings of this Agreement form no part of it, and will be deemed to have been inserted for convenience only.
  27. ENUREMENT
  28. This Agreement will be binding upon and will enure to the benefit of the Parties, their respective heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns.
  29. GOVERNING LAW
  30. The laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia will govern the interpretation of this Agreement, and the status, ownership, and division of property between the Parties wherever either or both of them may from time to time reside.
  31. TERMINATION OR AMENDMENT
  32. This Agreement may only be terminated or amended by the Parties in writing signed by both of them.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF the Parties have hereunto set their hands and seals on the 20th day of October, 2017.

SIGNED, SEALED AND DELIVERED
In the presence of:

_____________________________
Witness
Printed Name: _________________

_____________________________
Witness
Printed Name: _________________

________________________
_____________________



_____________________________
Witness
Printed Name: _________________

_____________________________
Witness
Printed Name: _________________

________________________
_____________________


SCHEDULE "A"

Shared Property:

  1. ____________________________________________________________

CERTIFICATE OF INDEPENDENT LEGAL ADVICE

THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
COUNTY OF __________________

I, ____________, of the City of ___________________, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Attorney, DO HEREBY CERTIFY:

THAT I was this day consulted in my professional capacity by _____________________, named in the within instrument, being a Common Law Partner Agreement, separate and apart from _____________________, as to his legal rights and liabilities under the terms and conditions of it, and that I acted solely for him, and explained fully to him the nature and effect of the said Common Law Partner Agreement and he did execute it in my presence, and did acknowledge and declare that he was executing it of his own volition and without any fear, threats, compulsion or influence from _____________________, or any other person.

DATED at the City of ___________________, in the Commonwealth of Virginia this ____________ day of _________, 20___.

________________________
ATTORNEY
Print Name: _____________



I, _____________________, the person named in the annexed Agreement, hereby acknowledges the foregoing this ____day of ______________20___.


________________________
_____________________


CERTIFICATE OF INDEPENDENT LEGAL ADVICE

THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
COUNTY OF __________________

I, ____________, of the City of ___________________, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Attorney, DO HEREBY CERTIFY:

THAT I was this day consulted in my professional capacity by _____________________, named in the within instrument, being a Common Law Partner Agreement, separate and apart from _____________________, as to her legal rights and liabilities under the terms and conditions of it, and that I acted solely for her, and explained fully to her the nature and effect of the said Common Law Partner Agreement and she did execute it in my presence, and did acknowledge and declare that she was executing it of her own volition and without any fear, threats, compulsion or influence from _____________________, or any other person.

DATED at the City of ___________________, in the Commonwealth of Virginia this ____________ day of _________, 20___.

________________________
ATTORNEY
Print Name: _________________



I, _____________________, the person named in the annexed Agreement, hereby acknowledges the foregoing this ____day of ______________20___.


________________________
_____________________

Cohabitation Agreement Information

Alternate Names:

A Cohabitation Agreement is also known as a:

  • Cohabitation Agreement Contract
  • Living Together Agreement
  • Cohab

What is cohabitation?

Cohabitation is an arrangement where two unmarried people in a consensual, intimate relationship are living together.

What is a Cohabitation Agreement?

A Cohabitation Agreement is a contract used by unmarried couples who want monetary and emotional security before combining their assets when they move in together.

For instance, in most marriages, both partners have rights to a division of property and spousal support upon entering a legal union, whereas partners in a cohabiting relationship do not have similar rights without a signed agreement.

This Cohabitation Agreement is designed for couples in intimate relationships who wish to live together. Non-intimate couples, such as friends, roommates, or siblings, who wish to live together can use a Roommate Agreement to define their responsibilities instead.

What are the differences between cohabitation and marriage?

Cohabitation and marriage can have legal similarities, like details about the division of assets and debts, inheritance, or support obligations. However, there are specific differences between the two, such as:

  • Cohabitation can be entered into by anyone at any time without any specific or formal requirements. Marriage requirements can include things like blood tests, licenses, age specifications, waiting periods, and officiants. These requirements can differ from state to state.
  • A Cohabitation Agreement can be ended informally with little or no process depending on the agreement between the parties involved. Marriages must be ended using a formal, legal process such as divorce or annulment.
  • Cohabiting partners can divide their property however they want in the event of a breakup based on any stipulations they made in their Cohabitation Agreement. Divorcing couples are obligated to divide their property according to state law.
  • Cohabitants generally don't have the legal right to make decisions for an ill, incompetent, or incapacitated partner without the authority of a Power of Attorney or Health Care Directive. A spouse generally has these rights after entering the legal union of marriage.
  • A father of children born to cohabiting parents is not entitled to a legal presumption of paternity like his married counterpart would be. A cohabitant father might have to establish paternity through blood tests or through legal proceedings.

What does a Cohabitation Agreement do?

A Cohabitation Agreement is used to protect both partners in a relationship and avoid as much conflict as possible in the event of a breakup. The agreement can be used to detail and define:

  • Separate assets: property or items owned separately by one partner that they retain their respective rights of ownership to after a breakup
  • Shared assets: property or items co-owned by both parties that are divided after a breakup in whichever way is outlined in their Cohabitation Agreement
  • Debt obligations: joint debts, such as co-signed loans or real estate, that both parties will be responsible for in the event of a breakup
  • Child support: financial support required for any dependent children from either partner's past relationships or the current partnership in the event of a breakup or the death of a partner
  • Support payments: financial support that one party might be required to give the other as outlined in the Cohabitation Agreement

The Cohabitation Agreement's purpose is to protect both parties and to help avoid having a court decide on divisions of assets or support payments.

Who should have a Cohabitation Agreement?

A Cohabitation Agreement is suitable for heterosexual or same-sex couples who do not want to get married but still want some of the rights afforded to married couples, such as division of property or child support if the relationship ends.

This agreement can also provide some security in the event of a significant other's death with a clause allowing partners to add to or restrict what the other partner inherits in combination with the deceased partner's Last Will and Testament.

Couples who are looking to protect their personal property or to ensure that their separate debts remain separate can also benefit from a Cohabitation Agreement.

Couples in long-term relationships may wish to use a Cohabitation Agreement to live together on a trial basis before committing to the legal union of marriage.

Forms related to a Cohabitation Agreement:

  • Prenuptial Agreement: a form for couples about to be married that describes a variety of financial responsibilities for each partner, including the division of assets and property, estate planning, and spousal or child support
  • Roommate Agreement: a contract for people living together in a rental unit, which determines the terms and conditions of the living arrangement as well as the rights and responsibilities of each tenant
  • Separation Agreement: a contract for married couples that outlines how the couple will divide their assets and separate financial and child support responsibilities in preparation for a separation or divorce
  • Health Care Directive: a document used to plan your medical care in advance should you ever be in a situation where you lack capacity
  • Last Will and Testament: a document used to express how your assets will be distributed after your death

Frequently Asked Questions:

Cohabitation Agreement FAQ
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