Cohabitation is Popular among Young Adults – What, if any, are the Legal Ramifications of Cohabitation?


Today’s relationships are far different from the relationships of the 1930s and 1940s. Many young adults are bewildering their parents and grandparents by “dating” for years, some approaching the decade-long mark. For example, Prince William and Kate Middleton, both 28-years-old, have been dating for nine years. This is drastically different from the post-World War II era, where couples married in their early 20s; now, it’s 28 for men and 26 for women.

An article published by USA Today suggested reasons for the delay to the alter: (1) Sex before marriage is widespread; (2) Two-thirds of couples live together before marriage; (3) A greater pool of potential partners is still available; (4) Young adults worry about divorce – they know some relationships just do not last, they want to get it right; and (5) Society sends mix messages. On one hand popular movies and TV shows portray these ideal romances of finding your one true love and staying a lifetime together. On the other hand, is celebrity culture – couples getting married and divorced multiple times. Society’s mixed messages promote the idea that romantic connections are unstable.

Melissa Trapper Goldman, a 29-year-old documentary filmmaker who is also in a long-term relationship, agrees, stating you hear these pieces of advice: “You’ll just know the one,” which is just not useful. Goldman and her fiancé, Aubrey Clayton, 30, have been dating since January 2005 and got engaged just 5 months ago. During their relationship, Goldman and Clayton moved around the country, Clayton to California for graduate school and Goldman to Boston then Albuquerque. Goldman said it was important to go through these changes together – change after change, they stayed together. Experiencing these changes made Goldman feel secure about their relationship, it proved Clayton was someone she could go through a lot of changes with. Experts say this kind of thinking makes sense. To read more of this article see Young adults are not in a rush to for marriage.

Long-term couples have a tendency to move in together, co-sign on loans for each other, take on credit accounts and engage in other behavior as if they were married. If the long-term couple splits, problems can arise regarding how to divide the assets and liabilities incurred while they were together. Common-law marriage is a status which is legally recognized as marriage in some jurisdictions even though a legally recognized marriage ceremony was not performed or a civil marriage contract was not entered into. It is important to note that not all states recognize common-law marriage. Under Florida Statute 741.211 the Florida Legislature declares common-law marriages void. Contact a Florida Family Law Attorney to discuss your status and possible legal actions you may be able to pursue regarding cohabitation.

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