cohabitation Archives | Cordell & Cordell

Joe Cordell On Asset Protection In Cohabiting Relationships

st-louis-post-dispatchWith the decline in marriage rates, and subsequently divorce rates, related to economic factors, more couples are cohabiting as they delay marriage.

But since many states do not recognize “common law marriage,” cohabiting partners are left with little protection in the event of a breakup, Cordell & Cordell co-founder Joseph Cordell told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

As Cordell explains, the law treats ex-lovers like business partners dissolving their company: the only thing that matters is what’s on paper.

So if the girlfriend solely owns the house, it does not matter if the boyfriend helped pay the mortgage if there wasn’t a contract listing him as joint owner. He would have no claim to any equity since oral agreements aren’t enforceable in real estate.

Cordell said cohabiting partners could protect themselves through separate contracts, sometimes called “cohabitation agreements.” But this type of asset protection is complicated and requires a family law attorney’s assistance.

Read the full St. Louis Post-Dispatch article on asset protection.

Joe Cordell’s State Of The Union Of Marriage

marriage meltdownThe marriage rate is at a record low as more couples are choosing to delay marriage and cohabit instead, according to the Pew Research Center.

Cordell & Cordell co-founder Joseph Cordell discussed this trend on the “Marriage Meltdown” special on KPLR 11 TV in St. Louis.

“There are no laws to protect and men and fathers in cohabiting relationships,” Cordell said. “Bottom line is it’s hard to protect yourself in a cohabitation scenario; there is no stability.”

For those couples that do marry and want stability, prenuptial agreements are becoming more common particularly for older couples with more assets and those on second marriages. The problem is there is still resistance from the younger generation to move forward with a prenup.

“People under 35 traditionally have fewer assets and are just starting out in their careers,” Cordell said, “so it’s harder to persuade them to realize that if they get divorced say 15 years from now, virtually everything they own in this world will now be in a partnership that belongs to the other half.”


Lawmaker pushes to decriminalize adultery cohabitation in Florida

A Florida lawmaker wants to do away with the second-degree misdemeanor for unmarried cohabitation, even though only 104 people have been arrested in the last 12 months for violating the state’s often forgotten law.

State Representative Ritch Workman, a Republican, recently announced that the cohabitation ban must go, as should the law against open adultery, the Tampa Tribune reports.

Workman told the news source that he does not wish to encourage or condone these activities, which could lead to divorce or other relationship issues, but believes the laws make the state look “foolish.” The law is rarely enforced, but that doesn’t make the state’s ban right, according to Workman.

“It’s not a crime – or it shouldn’t be,” the conservative explained to the publication.

The news source reports that more than 1 million people in Florida are technically committing a misdemeanor by practicing unmarried cohabitation, which is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

According to State of Our Unions, the number of cohabitating, unmarried adult couples of the opposite sex has increase from approximately 439,000 in 1960 to 6.8 million in 2008.

Study finds cohabitation not divorce is worse for family instability

It’s long been held that children of divorcing parents face a number of societal challenges, but children with unmarried parents who live with each other or other adults may also be at risk.

Research conducted by the Institute for American Values and the National Marriage Project found that children of cohabitating parents deserve the same concern as the children of divorce, because the study claims that these kids are also at risk for trouble in school, psychological stress, poverty and physical abuse.

The drama facing families today is less about divorcing spouses and more about unmarried parents, National Public Radio reports. The study found that by the time they are 12, 42 percent of children will have unmarried parents living together or with other adults, while 24 percent of children born to married parents will see them divorce or separate.

“We’re moving into a pattern where we’re seeing more instability, more adults moving in and out of the household in this relationship carousel,” Brad Wilcox, a co-author of the report and head of the National Marriage Project, explained to NPR.

The report studied more than 250 peer-reviewed journal articles and included additional scholarly analysis.