Non-Marital Cohabitation Agreement California: What You Need to Know

As more and more couples choose to live together without getting married, it`s important to understand the legal implications of cohabitation. In California, non-marital cohabitation agreements can provide a framework for couples to define their rights and obligations in the event of a breakup or death.

What is a Non-Marital Cohabitation Agreement?

A non-marital cohabitation agreement is a legal contract between two people who live together but are not married. It allows them to outline their expectations, responsibilities, and rights in the relationship. The terms of the agreement can cover a range of issues, such as:

– Division of property in case of separation or death

– Financial support for one partner if the other becomes ill or disabled

– Agreement on how to share household expenses

– Arrangements for any children of the relationship

– Agreement on how to handle disputes or conflicts

Why You Need a Non-Marital Cohabitation Agreement

Without a cohabitation agreement, the law in California treats unmarried couples as individuals rather than a cohesive unit. This means that property acquired during the relationship may belong solely to the person who purchased it, instead of being considered joint property. In the event of a breakup, this can lead to lengthy legal battles over who has a right to what.

Additionally, without an agreement, there is no guarantee that one partner will support the other in case of illness or disability. This can put a significant financial burden on one partner and can even lead to homelessness or loss of assets.

A non-marital cohabitation agreement can help avoid these conflicts and provide peace of mind for both partners. It allows them to make their own decisions about their finances, property, and any children they may have.

Is a Non-Marital Cohabitation Agreement Legally Enforceable?

Yes, a non-marital cohabitation agreement is legally enforceable in California. As long as both partners enter into the agreement voluntarily and with informed consent, it is considered a binding contract.

However, there are some limitations to what can be included in the agreement. For example, any terms related to child custody or child support must be in the best interests of the child and comply with California law. Additionally, any agreements that violate public policy or are deemed unconscionable by a court may not be enforceable.

How to Create a Non-Marital Cohabitation Agreement

To create a non-marital cohabitation agreement, both partners should hire their own attorneys to represent them. This ensures that each person`s rights and interests are protected. The attorneys can help draft the agreement and ensure that it complies with California law.

Both partners should fully disclose their financial situation and assets to each other. This includes any debts, income, property, and investments. They should also discuss their expectations for the relationship and what they hope to achieve through the agreement.

Once the agreement is drafted, both partners should review it carefully and make any necessary revisions. They should then sign the agreement in the presence of a notary public.


A non-marital cohabitation agreement can provide important legal protections for couples who live together but are not married. It allows them to define their rights and obligations in the relationship and can help avoid conflicts in the event of a breakup or death. If you`re considering cohabitation in California, it`s important to consult with an experienced attorney to ensure that your rights are protected.