According to a report by the National Marriage Project, the number of unmarried
couples who live together is on the rise. Between 1960 and 2008 "unmarried
cohabitation" increased more than twelvefold. The term unmarried
cohabitation is applied to couples who "are sexual partners, not
married to each other, and sharing a household."
Unmarried cohabitation is becoming more and more common, particularly among
young couples. The report estimates that about ¼ of unmarried women
between ages 25 and 39 live with a partner, and that another ¼
of women have lived with a partner at some point in their life without
The study also states that more than half of first-time marriages are preceded
by the couple living together first. Fifty years ago almost no couples
lived together before getting married.
Cohabitation as an Alternative to Marriage
While some couples live together with plans to get married in the future,
others look at cohabitation as an alternative to marriage. If you and
your partner have chosen to live together but not get married, you may
want to consider drafting a
cohabitation agreement. Cohabitation agreements are drafted to protect the rights of both parties,
should the relationship eventually end or one party pass away. A cohabitation
agreement can clearly outline property rights and other important issues,
much the same way a
prenuptial agreement or
postnuptial agreement does.