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Prenuptial agreements: not just for marrying couples?

It would be nice if every marriage lasted forever. It would be nice, but the reality is that in some marriages, people drift apart for a variety of reasons and divorce is not only inevitable, but it's a good idea that helps both people continue to enjoy life and grow.

One way to avoid divorce is to avoid marriage, of course. There is evidence that increasing numbers of people are choosing to wait to get married. They prefer to co-habit first, finding out if the relationship is suitable for marriage.

But what happens if that couple lives together for a few years, accumulates assets together and then decides to split? Though they're not divorcing, they might become involved in legal disputes that will remind them of the divorce they hoped to avoid.

One commonly used legal tool to help minimize legal disputes over property division is the prenuptial agreement. People agree before marriage on how to split assets and liabilities in divorce.

However, these kinds of agreements aren't necessarily limited to couples about to marry.

Co-habiting couples are increasingly turning to legal agreements to help them keep property division simple should they decide to end their relationship.

According to a report by WCVB-TV, with the number of couples living together surging 80 percent over the past 20 years, it makes sense that more of them would take advantage of legal protections designed to keep emotional complications in life to a minimum.

Because Florida is not a common law marriage state, a co-habitation agreement might make sense for a number of couples.

These co-habitation agreements can range from minimal to multifaceted documents for couples with substantial assets.

Resource: WCVB-TV: "Unmarried Couples Sign Cohabitation Contracts": March 14, 2011

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