California couples these days may want to hold off before tying the knot. But that does not stop people from wanting to live together. If you choose to live together, this is cohabitation. There are differences between marriage and cohabitation that we will discuss today. 

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines cohabitation as living together or in company. You can enter into a cohabitation situation with a partner at any time. There are no requirements. You do not have to file any paperwork. If you decide to end your cohabitation, you also end it in the same informal way. Unlike a marriage or divorce, there is no official legal process to go through. 

If you are in a cohabitation situation, you do not have to worry about some of the issues married couples face. If you split, you will not have to pay spousal support. You will not have state laws determining how you divide your property. At the same time, this may cause conflict. Without guidelines, it is up to the couple to decide who gets what. This is often a messy process. If you establish parenthood, you also hold legal obligations to support the child. This is true even if you and the child’s other parent are not married. 

Some difficulties include if your partner is sick or injured. The law defers to immediate family members rather than an unmarried partner. The law also gives preference to immediate family if your partner passes away. 

The emotional impact is often still hard on the people involved. While cohabitation has its benefits, it is not a path void of hurdles.