Since 2016, unmarried couples in Florida may lawfully live together without incurring penalties. The Sunshine State, however, does not recognize common-law marriages. The Florida court system may not provide you and your significant other with the same asset protection as it does for married couples.
Unmarried couples may, however, create a legally enforceable contract. As described by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, cohabitation agreements may address several important issues related to preserving assets. With a contract, you may include terms for sharing debts and properties and dividing them if you end the relationship.
When may I include real estate in an agreement?
Florida’s laws allow two unmarried individuals to buy real estate as joint tenants with right of survivorship. As noted on the Florida Realtors’ website, when one owner dies, the property then belongs to the surviving owner. You may also buy and sell real estate with your significant other by tilting the deed as tenants in common. When one owner dies, surviving heirs take ownership of his or her share.
If you and your significant other decide to part ways before death, a cohabitation agreement may address your property. Terms may, for example, include reimbursement for mortgage payments. Provisions may also outline selling your property and dividing its net proceeds.
How may a contract address the relationship?
Clear cohabitation agreements specify that the parties do not intend to marry. Florida’s laws do not protect unmarried couples, and your contract may not resemble a prenuptial agreement.
Unmarried couples have a right to cohabitate in Florida, and creating a contractual agreement may provide instructions on sharing assets during the relationship. If the arrangement ends, the terms may also outline whether to sell a shared property or buy out a significant other’s portion.