An historic event occurred on Oct. 17, 2014 throughout Arizona. That is the date when Arizona became the 31st state in the nation to legalize the unions of same-sex couples. This is great news for many same-sex couples who had previously lived in domestic partnerships because of their inability to marry. However, not every same-sex couple wishes to become married. Additionally, there are also plenty of opposite-sex couples who prefer to remain unmarried despite their ability to legally tie the knot. In these types of situations there is one question that often arises, “Can unmarried couples protect their property interests in the event of a death or separation?”
As previously discussed in an earlier blog posting, cohabitating couples in Arizona are still allowed to enter into property agreements. These are essentially contracts in which both parties can elect to become joint owners of a property. These contracts can also specify the proportions of ownership for each party as well as what should happen if one partner dies or the relationship comes to an end. For example, both parties might agree prior to the purchase of the home that they would sell the home and divide the assets down the middle in the event of death or separation.
Domestic partnership agreements are not just about property. These agreements can also specify which partner will pay certain bills. A well-thought-out domestic partnership agreement may also contain documents regarding estate planning issues such as wills, powers of attorneys and advance health care directives.
The point is that you can still protect your future interests even if you decide that marriage may not be right for you at this time. Based in Phoenix, our law firm has over 30 years of combined experience offering dependable family law services to our clients. Prospective clients should also know that we handle cases throughout the Phoenix Metropolitan area, including Maricopa County.