Cohabitation and Property Division in Massachusetts

Protecting Your Rights and Assets

If you are in a long-term relationship and living together, it is inevitable that your property will become intermingled with that of your partner. You may even decide to make major acquisitions together such as the purchase of a home. Should a breakup occur, you may face months of acrimonious litigation to determine how these assets should be divided.

Cushing & Dolan, P.C., is a family law firm with extensive experience in property division matters. If your relationship is breaking up, we can advise and represent you.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation about cohabitation and property division.

Cohabitation and Property Division

Living together without the official stamp of marriage often raises legal and financial issues if tragedy strikes or if the time comes to go your separate ways. There may be disputes or unintended consequences relating to assets, debts, taxes and other aspects of your shared life.

Massachusetts does not recognize "common law marriage," regardless of how many years you live together. Without a marriage certificate, equitable distribution of property under Massachusetts law does not apply. It can be devastating to find out you have no claim to assets, or equally alarming to learn you are on the hook for a mortgage and other debts.

The attorneys at Cushing & Dolan, P.C., can advise you of your rights, whether you are living under a cohabitation agreement or simply living together. We represent anyone cohabitating outside of marriage, including senior citizens and same-sex partners.

Our lawyers will discuss the issues with you and explain your options. Pertinent questions include:

  • What separate property did each of you bring to the relationship?
  • Who is responsible for the mortgage or rent?
  • What is your liability for loans, credit cards, bills and taxes?
  • Who gets the house, or how will proceeds be shared if it's sold?
  • Are you supporting the partner financially, or vice versa?
  • Does a partner have any claim on your retirement savings?
  • What are the tax implications of breaking up?

Dividing Property Without a Cohabitation Agreement

In the absence of a cohabitation agreement, we can represent you in negotiations or in court to achieve a fair and practical resolution.

While there is some applicable case law that provides guidance to courts in Massachusetts, the law regarding these matters is still largely undefined. Our lawyers will thoroughly review the issues in your case and develop a strategy designed to achieve results for you.

To schedule a free consultation with a Boston cohabitation lawyer, contact Cushing & Dolan, P.C.