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Why You Need a Co-Habitation Agreement

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If you are living with your girlfriend or boyfriend in New York, and later marry, you need a co-habitation agreement or you may be paying maintenance (f/k/a "alimony" from the day they moved in with you.

MELVILLE, N.Y. - eTradeWire -- The most recent changes to New York State Family Court Act and Domestic Relations Law expand the definition of support. Until 2010 it was clear that support (we are speaking of alimony/maintenance only) was calculated from the day you got married until the day you got divorced. The new law which went fully into effect in 2017 states that one of the factors the court should take into account in deciding the amount and duration if a maintenance award, is "the existence and duration of a pre-marital joint household" DRL 236 (B) (a) (6). See also Kaprov v. Stalinsky [145A.D.3d 869 Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York].

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There are hundreds of thousands of people living with their lovers in New York State. It is my opinion that most everybody is completely unaware that if they marry the person they are living with, in the event of a divorce they may be paying maintenance based on the day they moved in together and not the day they got married. Hypothetically, a man could live with a woman for fifteen years. He can then marry that woman and divorce her six months later. Under the new law he may be facing alimony for five through seven years based on the length of the co-habitation prior to the marriage. Conversely, had the man broken up with his girlfriend after fifteen years and married someone else, there would be no such alimony lookback. The alimony would be one to three months if anything on a one-year marriage if there was no prior co-habitation. The moral of the story is: if you live with someone there may be a hidden entitlement that is being created, usually without anyone knowing of this. This is a new law. In our scenario above, if the man did not live with the woman for fifteen years, and just dated, there would be little to no maintenance. Possibly one to three years maintenance based on the one-year relationship. It all is contingent upon how long you lived with the person you are marrying prior to marriage. It is the establishment of a joint household and creation of levels of responsibility, commitment and codependence that allows an entitlement to spring up well before the marriage in such events.

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Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. is the largest and most successful divorce and family law firm on Long Island. Mr. Salamone is available for consultations on selected cases free of charge at their Melville location.

Contact
Bryan L. Salamone
***@divorcelawyerlongisland.com
(631) 424-3597


Source: Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C.
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