Koiles Pratt Family Law Group
Get Advice From A Lawyer 978-744-7774
Menu Contact

Prenuptial agreements may simplify remarriage, cohabitation

Although couples living together in a committed relationship may choose not to get a marriage certificate for ideological reasons, a recent article suggests a more practical explanation, at least in the case of older Americans.

Specifically, Americans who find new love later in life may be concerned about the effect of remarriage on existing estate plans and retirement accounts. As one 70-year-old woman explained, she decided to act as a married couple in everything but legal title in order to avoid creating legal problems for her heirs. 

The woman’s choice is not an anomaly: Data from the United States Census Bureau indicates that the number of cohabitating Americans aged 50 and above has more than doubled in the past ten years. The number of such individuals was 2.8 million in 2010, up from only 1.2 million in 2000. Although the cohabitation rate is increasing among Americans of all ages, its growth is fastest in the 50-and-up category.

Notably, the way that older Americans approach cohabitation may also be different than younger couples. Whereas a younger unmarried couple might live together for only a few years, the average length of cohabitation among older couples is nine years. During that time, an older cohabitating couple might purchase real estate together and/or informally share expenses. Yet in the event of a breakup or unexpected death, the surviving loved one may find that he or she has few legal options to assert a claim over such informally shared assets. To solve that potential problem, a family law attorney might advise such couples to draw up an agreement that expressly allocates liability for certain expenses and states who will inherit assets. The agreement might be compared to a prenuptial agreement -- except that the cohabitating couple never obtains a marriage license. 

Source: The New York Times, “Welcoming Love at an Older Age, but Not Necessarily Marriage,” Stanley Luxenberg, April 25, 2014

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Reach Out To A Lawyer

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

email us for a response


Office Location:

Koiles Pratt Family Law Group
70 Washington Street, Suite 402
Salem, MA 01970

Phone: 978-744-7774
Salem Law Office Map

office map