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Financial strategies for unmarried couples

Financial strategies for unmarried couples

Date: November 07, 2012

Unmarried Illinois couples who live together may be interested in professional financial suggestions. The United States has experienced a drastic increase in the number of unmarried couples between 2000 and 2009. Unwed couples that live together could experience legal disputes in terms of finances, property and other assets.

Finance and family law experts suggest that unmarried couples should always take extra steps to protect their assets. Marriage automatically defines the legal rights of the couple under the law in regards to finances, health plans, social security benefits and jointly held assets in the event of divorce. But situations become complicated when legal recognition is missing.

In these circumstances, financial experts advise unmarried couples to establish rules that will define their individual rights in case they break up. The rules should define clearly their individual finances, joint assets and property division. It is always advisable to have a contract or agreement that defines the rules.

If these types of rules are not established, it may be better not to co-own assets or have joint accounts. It is better to keep money in separate accounts to avoid financial disputes. Although joint accounts give legal entitlement to both parties, the misdeeds of one party do not provide any legal recourse to the other.

In order to simplify ownership, car titles should be kept in the name of the owner. It is not advisable to make car payments for the same vehicle because, in the event of a break-up, the car goes to the titleholder and the other cannot claim it.

Most importantly, an exit plan should be created if the unmarried couple jointly owns a house. It is always advisable to have an agreement that details mortgage, insurance, maintenance and repair costs of the house and what each party is entitled to if they move out.

Asset division of unmarried couples can be complicated. But proper strategies and professional assistance can help protect the interests of both parties. Professionals advise that agreements regarding finances and assets should be with a lawyer present. A legal agreement will be recognized in court. This may be the safest investment for an unmarried couple.

Source: Foxbusiness, “Financial rules for unmarried couples living together,” Andrea Murad, Oct. 29, 2012

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