BROOKLYN, New York. According to Fortune, the rate of divorce among millennials is down by 18%. However, this may be due largely to the fact that most millennials are waiting longer to get married. Fewer marriages also translate to fewer divorces. Instead of getting married, these couples are choosing to cohabitate instead. According to the Atlantic, millennials are more likely to postpone marriage until they feel secure in their careers. They may live together with their partners even if they are unmarried. Both parties are more likely to enter the marriage with some degree of financial independence. Better paying jobs, higher education, and greater maturity, mean that couples who marry older might have fewer of the issues that couples who marry younger might face—issues like financial insecurity.
Yet, couples who choose to cohabitate for longer periods of time may find themselves facing problems that divorcing couples might also face—just without the legal protections that marriage can sometimes provide. People who shared a home may face greater complexity in dividing their assets if a cohabitation situation doesn’t work out because these couples may not have the protections that community property provides. Couples who have children who are unmarried may face greater challenges with establishing paternity or with seeking child support. Researchers found that lower-income couples were more likely to cohabitate rather than get married.
Wealthier couples, when they do marry, can often double their wealth. While poorer individuals might be less likely to marry because marriage can be a liability. After all, if both you and your ex carry high debts, you may be disinclined to pool your debt burden together through marriage.
Breakups can carry their own unique sets of legal issues. Unmarried couples are generally entitled to their own separate assets unless you and your ex shared a bank account or purchased property together. Even if you were just cohabitating, there are cases where unmarried couples may want to pursue claims in court. The courts will generally handle your split like a business transaction. So, if you shared property or assets, the judge will look at your shared assets and decide on how to split the property between you. While most breakups won’t involve the courts, some unmarried couples might choose to consult with a lawyer to understand their rights, especially if the relationship was long-lasting or if there are major shared assets or bank accounts. Some cohabitating couples share pets which are considered property in New York. If there’s a dispute about who will care for the pet, some couples may pursue the case in court.
One of the ways unmarried couples can avoid disputes or surprises is to draft “living together agreements” before they move in. Moving in with your partner is a major step, but important questions should be addressed. For example, will you both be on the lease? What happens if one of you cannot afford rent? Who keeps the apartment if you break up? If you have pets, who will keep the pet?
If you have questions about your split or divorce, you may want to speak to a qualified divorce lawyer like the Elliot Green Law Offices in Brooklyn, New York. Whether you were cohabitating or married, our firm may be able to assist you with the process of spitting assets and developing a child custody agreement. Visit us today at https://elliotgreenlaw.com/.
Elliot Green Law Offices
32 Court Street, Suite 404
Brooklyn, NY 11201