A Cohabitation Agreement describing rights of unmarried parties will become more important due to the changes in the number of marriages. A recent news articles, "For Women Under 30, Most Births Occur Outside Marriage" described the sociological shift that has occurred. Many underlying assumptions are described but the result is still the same.
When a married couple end their relationship, the divorce laws of each state provide a method to divide assets and provide health insurance. However, when parties live together, have children but do not marry, that level of protection is missing.
I have spoken with unmarried parties who lived together with a significant other for years, bringing up children. Often one party stays at home with the children for a number of years while the other has been a wage earner. Often, one party owns the house. The other party has no protection to remain in the home while if they were married, a Court may allow a non-owner to live in the house for a period of time. When the unmarried parties split, assets in one parties name, including bank accounts, investments, and retirement are not split and just remain with the party who owns the asset.
A cohabitation agreement should be entered when parties live together without getting married. This agreement can establish a split of assets, indicate who remains in a house and for how long, and other important terms. The terms of this Agreement can be negotiated in mediation with Steven Hirsch.
If there is no cohabitation agreement, an unmarried parent still has a limited remedy under Rhode Island law. Steve Hirsch, Esq. can file a Miscellaneous Petition in Family Court to establish child support, custody and parenting plans. The Court will also consider issues about the children including health insurance, payment of medical bills and other special expenses related to a particular child.