Living Together: Legal Considerations for Unmarried Couples

More and more couples are choosing to live together without getting married. While this may seem like a simple and easy arrangement, there are many legal considerations that should be taken into account. This article will provide an overview of legal issues that unmarried couples should consider when living together.

Property Rights

One of the most important legal considerations for unmarried couples living together is property rights. In most states, property acquired during a marriage is considered marital property and is subject to division in the event of a divorce. However, property acquired by unmarried couples is not subject to the same laws.

If you are living with your partner and want to ensure that your property is protected, you can create a cohabitation agreement. This legal document outlines how property will be divided in the event of a breakup.

Estate Planning

Another important legal consideration for unmarried couples is estate planning. If you are not married, your partner may not have any legal rights to your assets or property in the event of your death. To ensure that your partner is taken care of, you should create a will or a trust that outlines your wishes.

Healthcare Decisions

If you are living together and one of you becomes incapacitated, it is important to have legal documents in place that allow the other partner to make healthcare decisions. This can be done through a healthcare power of attorney or a living will.

Parental Rights

If you are living together and have children, it is important to establish parental rights. This can be done through a legal document such as a custody agreement or a parenting plan. By establishing parental rights, you can ensure that both parents have legal rights and responsibilities when it comes to raising your children.


Living together can be a great option for couples who are not ready or interested in getting married. However, it is important to consider the legal implications of this arrangement. By understanding property rights, estate planning, healthcare decisions, and parental rights, you can ensure that your relationship is protected and that both partners are taken care of. If you need legal assistance with any of these issues, be sure to consult with an experienced family law attorney.

Thomas Elliott

Education: Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn, New York. Pace University, White Plains, New York.
Professional Associations and Memberships: American Bar Association, New York State Bar, The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Brooklyn Bar Association, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).

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