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About 5.5 million people in the United States are unmarried cohabitating couples, representing a little more than 10 percent of all U.S. households. However, there is no asset protection in the event of a breakup for unmarried couples who purchase real estate or a business together.
Since it has become much easier to obtain a divorce in the U.S. than to settle a property or business dispute, unmarried couples are advised to discuss all the terms of their agreement before making a purchase in order to protect their assets.
According to business and real estate attorney Brent Rosenthal, before investing together, unmarried couples should talk about possible disputes that may arise later on.
“Treat it like a business arrangement, and enter into a written agreement that describes what will happen,” he says. “Go under the assumption that people don’t last forever.”
However, Rosenthal believes that it’s extremely difficult for people to focus on the business aspect of big purchases because they think their relationship will last.
Family law attorney and author of “Divorce: It’s All About Control: How To Win the Emotional, Psychological and Legal Wars,” Stacy D. Phillips says that people don’t want to deal with the possibility of a breakup beforehand.
“Nothing gets taken care of when people are in love. It only gets taken care of when people are breaking apart,” she said.
Rosenthal reminds unmarried couples that they have very few, if any, legal asset protections in the case of a breakup. Therefore, he thinks it’s essential to bring in an unbiased third party such as a family law attorney who can steer a couple through property or business agreements.
“I have no emotional stake in this at all, so I can sit back and look at it totally disassociated from the deal,” he said.
If you would like to speak with a lawyer regarding your marraige contact us today.