Asset Protection for Unmarried Couples
Many people commit to a relationship with the expectation that it will last forever. But when a relationship ends, a contentious dispute can arise over jointly held property.
People who live together without the benefit of marriage mistakenly believe that if the relationship ends, they can simply walk away without any financial obligation to their partner. Unfortunately, often this is not the case because one party could petition the court to establish the existence of a constructive trust, a breach of contract and a lawsuit for “quantum meruit,” which means “for as much as he/she is worth.”
Protecting Your Rights And Assets
At The Law Offices of Judith A. Wayne & Associates. Wayne, we help unmarried people protect their assets by drafting cohabitation agreements. Similar to a prenuptial agreement, these documents define what property belongs to each partner and how jointly held assets are to be divided should the relationship break up. A cohabitation agreement is a very economical way to protect your assets if you are entering into or are in a relationship. They are particularly valuable for unmarried couples who purchase houses using joint funds or who enter the relationship with significant assets of their own.
To learn more about cohabitation agreements and how an agreement can benefit you, call us at 781-691-9104. We serve clients throughout Massachusetts, including the Boston area, Marblehead and the North Shore. We are prepared to handle cases from Pittsfield to Cape Cod and the Islands.
What Should a Cohabitation Agreement Contain?
We strongly advise that these documents contain a clause that prohibits one party from suing the other for breach of contract, quantum meruit and for the establishment of the existence of a constructive trust. This could save you thousands in legal fees, not to mention helping you avoid the stress and aggravation of a court fight.
For an example of what can happen if that clause is not in a cohabitation agreement, read Judith A. Wayne’s article Beyond The Standard Pre-Nuptial Agreement. In the case described, a partner sued the other partner following a breakup, despite the fact that defendant in the lawsuit had been exceedingly generous to the plaintiff partner. Attorney Judith A. Wayne did obtain a favorable result for her client but only after a protracted court fight.