Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Living together & Indiana law - Get a Cohabitation Agreement!

I have been writing on Indiana's cohabitant law since I began this blog. My first post on the subject was Living Together in Indiana - And then breaking up. This post comes from what looked like another unsuccessful query: living together Indiana law.

If what the searcher looked for was statutes on living together in Indiana, none exist. I have tried to make this point here and here and here (and quite a few more), with almost no attention being paid.

What Indiana has is common law - that is case law, what is made by the appellate courts - on what to do if things go bad and the partners go to court. Finally An Indiana Cohabitation Case with a Written Agreement contains an example of this type of law.

No cohabitation agreement and you need to go to court. Do you have the money for this? Far less expensive to get a cohabitation agreement than gamble in court.

For those still not convinced, let me send you to Black Married Momma, a non-lawyer's blog and her post - The Casualty of Common Law Marriage:

Most people, we know, don’t go through the investigation, research or expense of entering into these legal contracts. Often too trusting of their faux spouse’s promises and intentions, they begin living together and molding a make-believe union that, all too late, they realize is not protected or recognized by the state or courts when the shit hits the fan.

Many high-profile cases over the years have shown that baby mommas, in particular, have none of the entitlements or protections of real wives. We can consider the multiple mothers of murdered former NFL quarterback Steve McNair’s children. We can look at the fiancĂ© of recently deceased NFLer Chris Henry; she had three children with him without being married – who knows if they had a cohabitation agreement, confirmed paternity of those children or if he included her as a beneficiary via life insurance or will? Women in particular need to know where they stand in relationships, especially ones as precariously fashioned through mere cohabitation.

They are most likely to suffer incredibly in the event of relationship fall-out. If they’ve been too accommodating, they may be left with mountains of debt. If they have relied on a non-husband to provide for them, they may be displaced with no income to shore up. If they’ve helped pay expenses that their names weren’t tied to, they may have absolutely nothing to show for it.
Go read the rest of it and think a bit about not needing a cohabitation agreement.

Let me repeat what I try to say in every cohabitation post: if you are living together or planning to live together, get yourself to a lawyer and get a cohabitation agreement.

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