Ending a marriage is not an easy process. Getting divorced can leave couples facing a number of family law issues. Amongst these matters are child custody, child support, property division and alimony. While these legal issues can be highly contested in a marriage dissolution, the fact of the matter is that they can also arise in the context of non-marital relationships. Nowadays, many couples are choosing to live together for years without tying the knot, which can make it challenging to legally divide their lives when their relationship sours.
Although these matters are often treated similar to if the couple were married and obtaining a divorce; however, property division may be more difficult as there will be no "marital" property to equitably divide. This means that who pays for certain assets can be pivotal in the event that the relationship comes to an end. Unfortunately, this may leave some Illinois and Indiana residents at a severe financial disadvantage.
In order to protect themselves in the event of a breakup, individuals engaged in a non-marital relationship may want to consider entering into a non-marital or living together agreement. Like a prenuptial agreement, these contracts can specify the legal rights held by each party in the relationship, as well as how property obtained during the course of the relationship will be divided if the relationship comes to an end. Such an agreement can also specify how gifts and inheritances will be handled, as well as how expenses will be divided during the relationship.
Although a non-marital agreement should be memorialized in writing, courts may find them to be implied. Therefore, those who want to ensure that they are protecting themselves in these relationships should make sure they carefully consider the terms and include them in a thorough and clear document. Those who believe an implied contract pertains to them may also want to reach out to a legal professional who can help them make their case before a judge.