Montgomery County Domestic Partnerships & Cohabitation Agreement Attorney
Marriage equality is now the law of the land. But this development has not eliminated the need for domestic partnership agreemeents in Pennsylvania, for both heterosexual and same-sex couples. Many couples view civil cohabitation agreements as a preferable alternative to marriage, a ceremony which has very strong religious overtones. Other couples decide they need to live apart, at least for a while, but they do not want to formally divorce, perhaps for religious reasons.
Under Pennsylvania law, these agreements cannot originate here. However, they are fully enforceable in the Keystone State. At Kardos, Rickles & Hand, our Montgomery County domestic partnership and cohabitation agreement attorneys are fully committed to your legal and financial rights, regardless of your family’s background. Our primary concern is to assertively stand up for those rights, in the courthouse and at the negotiating table. Additionally, we always proactively communicate with you throughout your case, so you are not in the dark.
Making a Domestic Partnership Agreement
For these pacts to be enforceable in Pennsylvania, a domestic partnership agreement must closely resemble a prenuptial contract or a divorce.
Prenuptial agreements clearly establish property ownership and management rights. As such, they usually eliminate disputes about money. And, these disagreements are the leading cause of relationship strife.
Much like a prenup, a domestic partnership agreement can also include provisions which apply after the relationship ends, such as spousal support provisions. In this way, a prenuptial agreement is a bit like a life insurance policy. Almost no one wants or expects to die early, but responsible people still have insurance. By the same token, almost no one wants or expects a divorce. But a prenup, or a domestic partnership agreement, helps people prepare for the unexpected.
Also like a prenup, a domestic partnership agreement usually cannot include child custody or visitation provisions. These matters must be in the best interests of the children, as opposed to the best interests of the parents.
Post-marital domestic partnership agreements are almost exactly like divorce decrees, except they do not dissolve the marriage.
Breaking a Cohabitation Agreement
In these situations, the couple, or one person in the couple, could return to the state where the agreement was executed and dissolve it there. Pennsylvania courts will exert jurisdiction in one of the following ways.
Equity jurisdiction remedies disagreements between domestic partners and protects their rights. Courts often invoke equity jurisdiction if negotiations between the partners to bring the matter to an amicable end have completely broken down. Furthermore, married spouses and domestic partners are not legally equal in all states.
Comity is a common law doctrine which allows one state to decide matters which originated in another state, as long as the laws between these two states do not directly conflict with one another. Typically, comity domestic partnership dissolution proceedings are much like divorce proceedings. The judge has the power to equitably divide joint property and make orders which are in the best interests of the children.
Connect with an Experienced Attorney
Domestic partnerships still have a prominent place among Pennsylvania households. For a confidential consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Montgomery County, contact Kardos, Rickles & Hand. Convenient payment plans are available.