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Protecting the Economic Rights of Cohabitants: Property Division, Inheritances, Custody, Cohabitation Agreements

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Thursday, March 10, 2022

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE webinar will discuss how to mitigate the unique legal and economic issues that arise for an unmarried couple if the relationship ends or when one needs to make legal decisions for the other. The program will discuss cohabitation agreements, property rights and division, custody, and even touch on the Economic Rights of Unmarried Cohabitants Act being considered by the Uniform Laws Commission.


Unmarried cohabitants are usually considered "legal strangers" and have no more rights against their partner or the partner's property than any stranger might. Yet, they often buy property, have children, start businesses, and otherwise proceed as if they do.

The differences between the rights of spouses and unmarried couples can be especially stark in times of crisis or change and when the relationship ends. Some states mitigate this by recognizing civil unions or domestic partnerships, and others may still provide for common law marriage. Unique problems may exist concerning government or employment benefits.

Unlike marriage, where rights exist due to the marriage relationship, non-married couples have to think ahead to protect themselves and their partners.

Listen as this panel of family law experts guides family law attorneys in how unmarried individuals can protect themselves.



  1. Legal status of unmarried cohabitants to each other
    1. Limits of civil unions and domestic partnerships
    2. Myths of common law marriage
  2. Cohabitation agreements
    1. Timing
    2. Contents
    3. Identifying the client and need for separate counsel
  3. If the relationship ends without a cohabitation agreement
    1. Financial responsibilities
    2. Ownership for joint purchases
    3. Residential financial obligations
    4. Child support and custody issues
  4. Inheritance rights if partner dies


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What is the best way to hold title to property for cohabitants?
  • Should partners give financial authority to the other?
  • How is appreciated property divided when the relationship ends?
  • Does the child of a deceased partner have greater rights than the surviving partner?


Feigenbaum, Alan
Alan R. Feigenbaum

Of Counsel
Blank Rome

Mr. Feigenbaum is an experienced matrimonial and family law attorney who assists a diverse range of professionals and...  |  Read More

Stambleck, Peter
Peter R. Stambleck

Founder and Partner
Mosberg Sharma Stambleck Gross

Mr. Stambleck works closely with clients to counsel them through both financial and custody aspects of divorce. His...  |  Read More

Weissbart, Sean
Sean R. Weissbart

Blank Rome

Mr. Weissbart is Vice Chair of Blank Rome’s Tax, Benefits and Private Client practice group. His practice focuses...  |  Read More

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