Sunday, January 11, 2009

Finally An Indiana Cohabitation Case with a Written Agreement

Unfortunately, the Indiana Court of Appeals determined Michael Poulimas v. Angel Ewing (PDF format) as a Not For Publication case. It is not available to us as precedent.

Still, three points come to mind:

  1. The loser seems to have failed to understand the cohabitation agreement and then failed to present evidence and/or claims to refute the winner's theory.
  2. The parties created their own cohabitation agreement. Parts seemed ambiguous to the court. No one - a lawyer for either of them - parsed the document for problems. I suspect the loser thought himself protected and now is a bit annoyed to find that the agreement was not as good as he thought.
  3. Cohabitation agreements will be treated as ordinary contracts by Indiana courts. The parties treated the agreement as legitimate and none of the courts interposed their own view that cohabitation agreements violated public policy.
What can then be learned transcends the actual opinion. Here is what I think:
  1. You have a cohabitation agrement that you wrote yourself: Get a lawyer to read the agreement. The thing needs read with a critical eye and you are not objective enough to do this.
  2. You want to get a cohabitation agreement: know what you want, draft a document, then both of you get the document in front of a lawyer, and treat it as if it were a prenuptial agreement.

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