If You Want Rights, Get Married!

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

I received an inquiry from a potential client who had been living with a man in a “marriage like” relationship for more than 20 years.  They had two children and lived in a nice house in Palm Beach Gardens.  From  outside, they appeared to be a happily married couple.  However, the relationship tanked when the “husband” met someone new and asked the “wife” to make “other arrangements”.  She came to me to ask what her rights are.

Unfortunately, the “husband” and the “wife” were not; further, there is no common law marriage in Florida. Additionally, there was no written cohabitation agreement for unmarried people living together long term.  There was no legal obligation for the man to voluntarily continue to support her or children that are over the age of majority.  In short, this woman was you know what.

For those among you who want legal rights, it is best to have a legal marriage.  That legal entity protects a partner from the scenario above.  If marriage is not possible, then a written cohabitation agreement is the only other alternative for protection.  For more information about this or other topics, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at http://www.familylawwpb.com.


Cohabitation Agreements Are Like Prenuptial Agreements For Couples Who Choose Not To Marry

by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

With more and more couples living together without marriage, I see the need for a written set of rules to live by, which gives the unmarried parties specific expectations, rights, and obligations.  This document is called a cohabitation agreement, and like a prenuptial agreement, it has specificity and sets boundaries to the relationship.

Cohabitation agreements are valid, enforceable contracts, if executed under proper conditions.  The parties can agree on just about anything, from who pays the mortgage to who pays for airfare and vacations.  It can address the issue of a pet, who owns what artwork, who gets the piano if the relationship ends.  Financial issues and title to personal and real property are usually included. 

Like any contract, cohabitation agreements need to be understood, have disclosure, and freely agreed to without fraud, duress or undue influence and misrepresentation.  Like the prenuptial agreement, cohabitation agreements make living together or breaking apart somewhat easier, because expectations are spelled out.  For more information about this or other types of agreements between couples, call one of the lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at http://www.familylawwpb.com.

What cohabitation agreements and prenuptial agreements have in common.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Cohabitation agreements are usually made between two parties who are residing together under one roof but do not intend to marry.  Prenuptial agreements are made between two people who intend to marry and the agreement doesn’t effect anything until they do.  Both types of agreements are enforceable contracts that set forth the terms of living arrangements, who owns what, who pays for what, when, and anything else the parties wish to include in outlining their legal relationship.

Some things both types of contracts cover are disclosure of each person’s assets and debts prior to the relationship; support from one party to the other; arrangments as to bank accounts and other finances; buying a home together or other real estate investments; starting a business together and what happens if the relationship fails;  payments for goods and services.  It might also be important to address credit issues especially where one party has good credit and the other does not. 

Unless there is a written contract between the parties, anything you do in a relationship is voluntary and without compensation or legal recourse, unless a contract sets the terms of what is to be under those circumstances.

For more information about cohabitation agreements or prenuptial agreements, call one of the attorneys at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com.

About Robin Roshkind, P.A. Divorce Lawyers, West Palm Beach, Florida

Robin Roshkind, Esquire, founded the Firm on May 17, 1998, the day she was admitted into The Florida Bar.  She was 43 years old when she went back to law school.  Her children were 10 and 12 years old.  Her marriage was over, and a nasty divorce was about to begin.   Her divorce and her law school education took the same three years.  In 1998, she founded the Firm as a solo practitioner at the age of 46.  She had never worked in a law firm before.  So she hired really good people. 

Today, Attorney Maria Patullo has been with the Firm for more than 9 years.  Certified Family Law Paralegal, Laura “Charlie” Petrich, has been with the Firm for more than 9 years.  Attorney Catherine Eaton has been with the Firm for 8 years, and Certified Family Law Paralegal Darlene Hayes, 5 1/2 years.   The staff also includes Tracy Von Schmittou, a Certified Family Law Paralegal, who does all the Firm’s document discovery, and Legal Assistant, Jennifer Perez, who is bilingual.  

The Firm has an excellent reputation among the bar and the bench in Palm Beach County, Florida.  Its area of concentration is divorce, collaborative divorce, mediation, paternity, custody disputes, prenuptial agreements, relocation with children, child support, alimony disputes, name changes, same sex couples issues, including cohabitation agreements.   For more information, contact one of the Firm’s attorneys at 561-835-9091 or visit our web site at www.familylawwpb.com.