Practice Areas


Wendell L. Belknap
411 5th Street
Oregon City, OR 97045

Tel: 503-657-8946
Fax: 503-655-2775

Email Wendell


Cohabitation Agreements

Often, both same-sex and opposite-sex couples who live together do not realize that the law may treat their relationship, and therefore how their assets and debts are treated when they end their relationship, the same as if they were married and now seeking a divorce. Couples who live together and intend to merge some or all of their assets and/or debts are said to have formed a “Domestic Partnership” (this is a different type of domestic partnership than is meant by the law in Oregon for same-sex couples to register and be treated in some ways like a married couple). Unfortunately, when this relationship ends, there are often two diverse opinions as to whether a “Domestic Partnership” was intended, and, therefore, whether one party is entitled to share in the assets or debts of the other party. Accordingly, I always advise the parties to enter into a “Cohabitation Agreement” setting forth the understanding between the parties. While it is preferable to enter into the Cohabitation Agreement before moving in with one another, that is not required. It does not matter whether this “Cohabitation Agreement” admits or denies the intent to form a “Domestic Partnership.” What is important is that the “Cohabitation Agreement” sets forth the understanding of the parties, whatever that understanding is. Please feel free to contact me should you wish to discuss whether a “Cohabitation Agreement” is appropriate in your circumstances.