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Financial considerations for unmarried couples who break up

In this day and age, living with a romantic partner in Denver without being married is no longer taboo. In fact, there are approximately 6.7 million couples doing so across the country according to U.S. News & World Report. However, one advantage of being married is that there are clear processes in place for dividing up a couple’s property in the event that the relationship should end.

For the unmarried, things are less clear. If one of the partners passes away, he or she may have had the forethought to draft a will that passes property on to their partner or gives their partner decision-making power over legal and financial affairs. But if the couple splits up and does not have a plan in place on how to deal with their finances, a messy battle may ensue.

Unmarried couples most likely have many of the same assets that married people do. They may own a house jointly, have a joint bank account and even be on the same health insurance plan. Unlike married couples, however, there is no court or governing body to determine who should get what if the relationship should end.

That is why CNBC recommends drafting and signing a written agreement before moving in together. A cohabitation agreement can be a useful tool in terms of setting forth who will be financially responsible for what throughout the term of the relationship and what will happen to shared property, debts and assets if the couple breaks up. While the idea may seem unromantic, a little advance planning may be worth it in order to save a few huge financial headaches down the road.

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