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How cohabitation agreements work in Kentucky

Many people opt to maintain their relationship with a long-term partner without entering into marriage for all kinds of reasons. When partners move in together, their finances often become intertwined in a variety of ways. Drafting a cohabitation agreement can bring a great deal of clarity into the situation and protect both parties in the event that they decide to part ways at some point.

Kentucky law views a cohabitation agreement as a regular contract. Thus, it applies the same requirements for validity. Although the contract does not technically have to be in writing, it can be hard to enforce an oral contract. Generally, disputes concerning cohabitation agreements go before a civil court rather than family court.

What to include

A cohabitation agreement can cover a wide range of issues important for a particular couple. Some common topics include the division of property, who gets the pets and how to divide living expenses while partners share a home. An agreement can state that a particular person receives a specific asset or that the couple shall divide the asset, even if only one partner's name is on the title. As with married couples, cohabiting couples can have varying incomes and various arrangements, including having one partner stay home to raise children.

What happens without an agreement?

If a married couple divorces without a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, they divide marital property based on Kentucky's divorce laws, no matter who holds the title to any particular asset. However, if the couple is not married and has no cohabitation agreement, the person who holds the title gets the asset. Conversely, this also applies to debts the partners accrue; the person whose name is on the credit card or who signed the loan papers bears the responsibility, even if both used the funds.


A cohabitation agreement cannot put an unmarried couple into the legal position of a married one with respect to other benefits. It will not enable them to enjoy legal rights extended only to spouses.

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