David Earl Johnson, LICSW

2 minute read

This is good advice for those who forgo the formality of marriage to live together. This advice applies all romantic couples who have children, financial, and/or assets or other shared valued items. freep.com | Detroit Free Press


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  &#8220;People go into these relationships out of love, but they don&#8217;t use their heads,&#8221; says Pamela Radzinski, a Southfield <a class="zem_slink" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divorce" title="Divorce" rel="wikipedia">divorce</a> and family law attorney. Yet census data show the number of opposite-sex couples living together hit 6.8 million in 2008. That&#8217;s up from 5 million in 2006 and up from less than a million some 30 years ago, reports USA Today, citing census data. Cohabiting couples make up roughly 10% of all opposite-sex U.S. couples, married and unmarried. But if you want to live together in the state of Michigan without marriage, Radzinski advises people to get a written <a class="zem_slink" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contract" title="Contract" rel="wikipedia">contract</a>. Though the notion may not sound romantic, Radzinski says she recommends that all couples get a non-marital agreement drawn up by an attorney before moving in together. It should cover issues such as <a class="zem_slink" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Division_of_property" title="Division of property" rel="wikipedia">division of property</a> and assets, what will happen to children, and support for a nonworking partner in case of a breakup. A contract is especially important in Michigan, where those living together don&#8217;t receive the same protection as married couples, says Radzinski. She offers an example she&#8217;s seen many times: The woman stays home, the man tells her he&#8217;ll always take care of her &#8212; until he leaves and she&#8217;s left with nothing&#8230;. <a href="http://family.findlaw.com/marriage/marriage-resources/le18_6_1.html">Sample cohabitation contract</a>&#8220;

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