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How unmarried Illinois couples can protect assets in a breakup

Property division is often a contentious part of divorce. The good thing about it, however, is that state statutes regulate the division of marital property and the rights each spouse has, offering some protection and justice in the process.

What about couples who choose not to marry? Illinois does not accept common law marriage, which means that property division laws do not apply to cohabitating couples. As much as you do not want to consider you and your partner breaking up, it is smart to protect your assets now in the following ways instead of losing them later.

Create a cohabitation agreement

You can create a legal agreement that serves the same purpose as a prenup by outlining community and separate property and what happens to them if you break up. Ensuring the document is enforceable can be tricky, so you may want to have the help of an attorney and still try the rest of these tips for maximum security.

Keep funds separate

Comingling your money may be convenient, but it comes with a loss if you and your partner split up. Have your own account and credit cards, especially to limit sharing debt. It is best for each of you to have your own vehicle under your name. The more you each have under your own name, from loans to insurance policies, the easier and safer it will be to part romantic and financial ways. 

On the other hand, for joint property such as a house, putting both your names on the paperwork allows you to have claim to that asset and more options if you break up, such as buying out the other's share. 

Consider other legal protections

In addition to determining how you will treat your finances as a couple, you should consider your estate plans as well. To ensure assets or powers of attorney go to your partner, you need to state them explicitly in your legal documents.



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