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Cohabitation vs Marriage: What Are the Differences?

Cohabitation vs Marriage: What Are the Differences?

About half of American couples move in together after a year or so of dating. But how do they do it? When they finally start having arguments about interior decor, are American couples doing it as part of cohabitation or of marriage?

And, now that we mention it, what’s even the difference?

If you’ve ever wondered about the finer points of cohabitation vs marriage, you can wonder no longer. We’re here to break down everything about this confusing topic. What is cohabitation? What is marriage? And why would you want to opt for one over the other?

Read on to find out everything there is to know about cohabitation vs marriage.

What is Cohabitation?

To put it in the simplest possible terms, cohabitation is no more and no less than living together. If you share a house or apartment with a partner but you aren’t married, congratulations, you’re cohabitating!

The advantage of a cohabitation agreement is its simplicity. If your relationship doesn’t work out, or even if it does but you still need to live apart for whatever reason, you can do it without much fuss.

If you do split up, one of the things that separates cohabitation most dramatically from marriage is that cohabiters aren’t obliged to support one another financially.

That can be an advantage or a disadvantage depending on what you want out of your situation. Either way, as cohabitation tips go, it’s important to bear in mind that a lot of the legal advantages (and disadvantages) conferred on married couples go out the window in a cohabitation situation.

What About Marriage?

If you’re looking for a marriage guide, the most important thing to understand is this: marriage comes with a large amount of obligations and protections that simply don’t exist for cohabiting couples.

For example, like we said earlier, a cohabiting couple that separates for any reason won’t be obliged to support one another. Marriage is the exact opposite. If you separate from your spouse, there’s going to be a whole load of paperwork about who gets what and when.

Different states will have different laws which determine precisely how property and wealth get carved up between a separating couple. One thing you can be sure of, though, is that the laws are there.

Of course, it also has advantages. Married couples have a lot of legal rights that simple cohabiters do not. For example, if one half of a marriage falls ill, their partner will usually get rights to make decisions about their care.

Cohabitation vs Marriage: Which Is Right for You?

So there you have it, a quick and handy guide to the intricacies of cohabitation vs marriage. Whether you’re in the early days of a new relationship, or you’ve been together for decades, hopefully this guide will help you make key decisions about your future.

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