The COVID-19 coronavirus has taken over the world and stolen all sense of normalcy. Not only does our daily life look completely different from what it once did, but individual family concepts that most would not even think twice about are now front and center because of the chaos that COVID-19 has interjected into our lives. One of these life scenarios that poses some unique challenges during this time is co-habitation. That is why The Law Offices of Rachel M. Matos wants to provide you with the following information explaining what couples need to know about cohabitating during Coronavirus and how an attorney can help.
Co-Habitating in Massachusetts
When couples co-habitate, it means that they decide to live together under one house, acting like a couple without actually being married. Even though this relationship concept is becoming extremely popular in the United States, Massachusetts does not recognize any rights for a couple that decides to co-habitate together. In fact, Massachusetts does not allow common law marriage, which means that no matter how long a couple co-habitates together, it will never become a marriage without the proper legal proceedings. This, unfortunately, means that those couples that co-habitate together are afforded no protections under family or health laws that other married couples receive, which can be a scary thing when a pandemic is putting millions of people’s health at risk.
Co-Habitating During Coronavirus Lockdown
Massachusetts does not provide co-habitating couples the same rights as a married couple. However, it does allow for co-habitation agreements and specific contracts, which can be an immense relief for those who are co-habitating during coronavirus.
A co-habitation agreement is a contract that is made by unmarried people who live together or plan to live together that will define their relationship. A well-drafted agreement will explain all the responsibilities and the rights of the couple, including what occurs in the event of a termination of the relationship. It will explain in detail how finances are managed if one of the individuals becomes unemployed or incapacitated, or even dies. It will discuss what happens to the specific property and the rights to it, as well as the couple’s personal property. It can also address issues about the couple’s children or children from other relationships as well as inheritance rights.
Health Care Proxy
Massachusetts also allows for Health Care Proxies, which is a legal document that provides you the opportunity to name someone that you trust to act as your agent or your proxy. These individuals will make health care decisions for you if, for whatever reason, you are unable to decide for yourself. Speaking with an experienced attorney regarding this health care proxy can help you decide on the crucial concepts that are involved with this estate planning document. It can also provide you with other vital information like what this document means in terms of your health care and how it differs from protections afforded to you under a power of attorney.
How An Attorney Can Help
A co-habitation agreement should be created in conjunction with a health care proxy, a will, and a power of attorney. When an experienced family law attorney drafts these agreements, you can rest assured that all your needs and concerns are met. An attorney will discuss all of your issues and questions while explaining what protections and limits the co-habitation agreement and health care proxy will provide for you and your family.
It’s hard to plan for the future, especially when times are so uncertain. However, now more than ever, co-habitating during coronavirus means you need to protect yourself and the loved ones in your life. If you are in a co-habitation relationship, make sure you speak to a knowledgeable family law attorney that can help you during this complicated time. The Law Office of Rachel M. Matos understands the stress and confusion that many families are facing right now. That is why if you are in need of a co-habitation agreement, contact our office today for a consultation to discuss how a co-habitation agreement, health care proxy, or an estate planning may benefit you and your family. Let us help bring your future some peace of mind and security.