Michigan Cohabitation Forms - Michigan Law Unmarried Couples

Use this page to locate and download Cohabitation Agreement Forms or Wills for persons living together but not married. All forms are State Specific.

Michigan Cohabitation Form Categories Michigan Cohabitation Law

Cohabitation Forms FAQ Unmarried Couples Property Rights Michigan

What rights do unmarried couples have?

Generally, unmarried cohabitants do not enjoy the same rights as married individuals, particularly with respect to property acquired during a relationship. Marital property laws and other family laws related to marriage do not apply to unmarried couples, even in long-term relationships. The characterization of property acquired by unmarried cohabitants is less clear than that of married couples whose ownership of property is governed by marital and community property laws. Some property acquired by unmarried couples may be owned jointly, but it may be difficult to divide such property when the relationship ends. There is no obligation of financial support attached to a couple who cohabits, absent an agreement to the contrary. If you are financially dependent on a romantic partner and the relationship ends, the effects of the breakup can be much harsher.

How is cohabitation defined?

Cohabitation is generally defined as two people living together as if a married couple. State laws vary in defining cohabitation. Some states have statutes which make cohabitation a criminal offense under adultery laws. Under one state's law, cohabitation means "regularly residing with an adult of the same or opposite sex, if the parties hold themselves out as a couple, and regardless of whether the relationship confers a financial benefit on the party receiving alimony. Proof of sexual relations is admissible but not required to prove cohabitation." Another state statute defines cohabitation as "the dwelling together continuously and habitually of a man and a woman who are in a private conjugal relationship not solemnized as a marriage according to law, or not necessarily meeting all the standards of a common-law marriage." Yet another state, Georgia, defines cohabitation as "dwelling together continuously and openly in a meretricious relationship with another person, regardless of the sex of the other person.

Is it possible for unmarried couple to establish rights as a couple?

Living together, or cohabitation, in a non-marital relationship does not automatically entitle either party to acquire any rights in the property of the other party acquired during the period of cohabitation. However, adults who voluntarily live together and engage in sexual relations may enter into a contract to establish the respective rights and duties of the parties with respect to their earnings and the property acquired from their earnings during the nonmarital relationship. While parties to a nonmarital cohabitation agreement cannot lawfully contract to pay for the performance of sexual services, they may agree to pool their earnings and hold all property acquired during the relationship separately, jointly or to be governed by community property laws. They may also agree to pool only part of their earnings and property, form a partnership or joint venture or joint enterprise, or hold property as joint tenants or tenants in common, or agree to any other arrangement.

Other legal issues that may be affect cohabiting couples include estate planning and medical care. Generally, someone who cohabits with another is not considered an heir under the law or have the same rights to make medical care decisions in the same manner as a spouse. Therefore, unmarried cohabitants may consider estate planning and power of attorneys in addition to having a nonmarital agreement.

In some cases of people who formerly cohabited, courts have found a trust created in property of one person who cohabits with another, whereby the property is deemed held for the benefit of their domestic partner. When there is no formal trust agreement, a resulting trust may still be found under certain circumstances in order to enforce agreements regarding the property and income of domestic partners. If there is evidence that the parties intended to create a trust, but the formalities of a trust are lacking, the court may declare a resulting trust exists. The court may also declare that a constructive trust exists, which is essentially a legal fiction designed to avoid injustice and prevent giving an unfair advantage to one of the parties. This may be based on the contributions made by one partner to the property of the other. Each case is decided on its own facts, taking all circumstances into consideration.

Tips for Preparing Michigan Cohabitation Forms

Talking about finance and bureaucracy when you're in a relationship is difficult. But the Michigan Cohabitation Forms is an important step that both you and your partner should take if you want to live together without having concerns about what might happen if you two broke up.

  1. Create a list of your estate and assets, and debts. You have to be honest with one another and discuss what you are obligated to pay and own. Include income and property, and so on. If you're going to buy a house or vehicle together, bring this up as well.
  2. Speak about inheritance. What happens to all the property if one of the partners passes away? To protect yourself as well as your cohabitant from court procedures, include as much as possible in the terms of the inheritance in your contract.
  3. Think about your kids. Point out who takes financial responsibility for your kids. If they have another mother or father who can handle them, you need to point out it too and, in addition, describe how to use this financial support.
  4. Hire an independent legal expert. Plan of a cohabitation contract doesn't need any specific knowledge. But it's always better to get a fresh pair of eyes that can examine your record for compliance with common law of marriage and so forth. So for every cohabitant, visiting a local legal specialist is highly recommended.
  5. Keep Michigan Cohabitation Forms up to date. Everything can change as time passes. Therefore, it is crucial to check and update your cohabitation arrangement with new specifics.

What Is a Cohabitation Agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is a legal document that couples who are living together but not married can create to establish their rights and responsibilities. This agreement typically covers things like how property will be divided if the relationship ends, how debts will be handled, and how financial support will be provided. In Michigan, a cohabitation agreement can be made to protect the rights of couples in a committed relationship, even if they are not married. By creating this agreement, couples can have a clear understanding of their rights and obligations, which can help prevent conflicts and provide peace of mind.

What’s the Difference Between Cohabitation and Marriage?

Cohabitation and marriage are two different types of relationships. Cohabitation refers to when a couple lives together and shares a domestic life without being legally married. It is a choice made by partners to live together and have a committed relationship without the formalities involved in getting married. Marriage, on the other hand, is a legal and formal union between two people that is recognized by the state. In Michigan, like in many other states, marriage provides certain legal benefits and protections that cohabitation does not. These benefits can include rights to property and assets, medical decision-making power, and spousal support in the event of a separation or divorce.

When To Get a Cohabitation Agreement

A cohabitation agreement can be a smart idea in Michigan when you and your partner are planning to live together but are not getting married. It is especially important if you have bought a property together or have significant joint financial commitments. This agreement helps define expectations for things like property ownership, debt responsibilities, and household expenses. By clearly outlining each person's rights and obligations, a cohabitation agreement can ensure that both partners are protected and have a fair arrangement. It provides peace of mind and can prevent potential disputes or complications in the future.

What Are the Legal Rights for Couples Living Together?

When couples decide to live together without getting married, they have certain legal rights that protect their relationship and their individual interests. These rights may vary depending on the state you live in, like Michigan. In Michigan, there are no specific laws that offer legal recognition or protection to unmarried couples living together. This means that unmarried couples may not have access to certain legal benefits and protections that married couples have, such as property rights and healthcare decision-making. However, unmarried couples can still acquire rights through other means, such as creating written agreements or financial arrangements, to protect their interests and ensure fairness in their relationship. It's always advisable for couples living together to consult with a legal professional to understand their specific legal rights and to make informed decisions about their relationship.

Consequences of Not Using a Cohabitation Agreement

Not using a cohabitation agreement in Michigan can have serious consequences for unmarried couples living together. Without a cohabitation agreement, there can be uncertainty and legal complications when it comes to dividing assets and property if the relationship ends. Michigan does not recognize common law marriage, so there is no automatic protection for rights and obligations that married couples have. This means that without a cohabitation agreement, one partner may end up with little or no financial support or fair distribution of assets if the relationship ends. Additionally, in case of death, the surviving partner may not have the same legal rights or protections as a married spouse. It is important for unmarried couples in Michigan to understand these potential consequences and consider creating a cohabitation agreement to protect their rights and assets.