Often, when one gets married, there can be an unbalanced number of highly valuable assets coming in from either party. We've all heard of prenuptial agreements between couples before marriage as a means of protecting these assets, but what if a couple that wasn't seeking to marry wanted to draw up a similar agreement? Recently, there has been a rise in just that in Ohio and across the nation: "cohabitation" agreements between unmarried couples.

A recent poll of the American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers shows that 39 percent of family law lawyers have seen a rise in cohabitation agreements between couples living together over the last five years. This might be because there has been an increase in disputes among cohabitating couples. These cohabitation agreements can protect one party from being saddled with a significant amount of debt from their partner. They can also make arrangements concerning property division or issues surrounding any children born to the couple during their time together.

Decades ago, cohabitation agreements were unheard of. However, as more and more couples decide to live together without a marriage commitment, this type of contract has become convenient. Today, when a long-term couple breaks up, the process can be as laboring as a divorce. As a result, people are opting for relationship contracts.

Nevertheless, regardless of the situation, Ohio couples may want to consider their options for protecting their assets should they decide to marry or engage in a long-term relationship. If they do, they can make a smoother transition to singlehood in the event of a split.

Source: CNN Money, "Prenups aren't just for married couples anymore," Jessica Dickler, March 20, 2012