Marriage rates in the United States are at record lows; meanwhile, more couples are choosing to live together outside of marriage. Despite the changing landscape of romantic relationships, the law of nonmarriage has not kept pace. Rather than having a coherent, majority rule approach, the individual states have employed differing methods of providing for property distribution at the end of a long-term unmarried cohabitation. Unfortunately, absent the formal protections offered by marriage for both parties following a divorce, many cohabitants are at risk of suffering inequitable property distribution following the termination of a cohabitation. This Article proposes that states uniformly permit express and implied contracts between cohabitants to ensure that no party to the relationship is left without property after years of living and toiling together as partners.
Bailey D. Barnes,
Contracts for Cohabitating Romantic Partners,
Me. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.mainelaw.maine.edu/mlr/vol75/iss1/5