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The term "cohabitation" refers to people who are living together without being married. Couples of different or the same sex can cohabitate, as well a group of people can cohabitate, but the term is most often used to refer to people who have an intimate relationship.

Cohabitation Termination Present Issues

Under Wisconsin law, cohabitation is not a recognized marriage, regardless of the duration or nature of the relationship. Wisconsin does not recognize common law marriage nor any type of relationship between people other than marriage. For that reason, cohabitants cannot terminate their relationship through the normal termination of a marriage process, rather, they must rely upon Wisconsin's contract and other laws that govern the termination of a relationship, divide property, and provide maintenance.

Cohabitation & Children

If a child was born at any time prior to, during, or after the relationship, and the adult partners are that child's biological parents, then Wisconsin paternity and support laws apply. Cohabitants cannot rely upon family maintenance rules to ask a court to set maintenance for either parent, regardless of which parent has custody of the child. And if the couple had no childrenm, maintenance is usually not within reach under Wisconsin law.

Property Rights Of People Living Together

For cohabitation relationships, termination of those relationships, division of property acquired during the relationship, and support and maintenance issues, Attorney Kathy Reiley has fast become the 'go to' person for lawyers and non-lawyers alike. For several years, Attorney Reiley has handled cohabitation dispute resolution and mediation, which are the usual methods for resolving the issues that arise for partners terminating their relationships.

Resolving Disputes Between Cohabitants

Let's face it, Wisconsin law will not protect a cohabitant as a marriage partner, and spending a ton of money arguing about property and children will only run up bills on both sides. It is much easier on all parties involved and the checkbooks of those parties to agree that they must agree, and that is a starting point from which the rest of the issues can be handled.

If you are in a cohabitating relationship that is coming to end, please call Attorney Kathleen Reiley (608-246-8309) or send Kathleen Reiley an email to set up a confidential meeting to discuss your options.

See Also:
Cohabitation Dispute Resolution | Mediation | Wisconsin Child Support
Attorney Kathleen Reiley | Family Law Overview

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