Trending Now: Cohabitation, Not Marriage, for Older Adults and Seniors in Chicago
A Chicago Tribune article entitled “Why more couples over 50 are cohabitating, not marrying” opens with a punch: a quote from American superstar Oprah Winfrey’s longtime partner Stedman Graham on what would have happened if he and Winfrey had said “I do”. His answer? “We wouldn’t be together.” Winfrey then added, “We would not have stayed together because marriage requires a different way of being in this world.” A powerful message from a powerful woman.
However, Oprah and Stedman aren’t the only adults in the United States that tend to believe that marriage just isn’t in the cards. In fact, according to 2016 census data, 18 million American adults weren’t interested in going through the formal legal process, an almost 30% leap from nearly a decade before. Even more interesting still, according to the Pew Research center, the number of adults aged 50 years and older who are cohabitating with a partner increased by a whopping 75% from approximately 2007 to 2016. Pew Research Center analyst Renee Stepler stated in the Chicago Tribune in regards to those numbers, “The sheer number is striking…cohabitating adults 50 and older make up one-quarter of all cohabiters today, and that’s striking because cohabitation used to be a step before marriage.” Coupled with those figures are the figures on “gray divorces”, those individuals who divorce at age 50 or older. In the United States, gray divorces have also increased two-fold since the 1990s, which naturally contributes to the increase of older adults and seniors who are recoupling and cohabitating, but not going through the formalities and legalities of a marriage.
Why Cohabitate Instead of Marry in Chicago?
According to resources in the Chicago Tribune article, the reasons that older adults and seniors are opting to cohabitate, rather than marry, may have to do with both the innovation of older adults in their relationships, and the meaning of marriage later in life. Older adults and seniors are less likely to marry for reasons such as “childbearing” or for moral reasons. Many having been married before, the idea of a marriage certificate may be less “meaningful” for older adults and seniors than for younger couples heading into their first marriage. Whatever the reason, however, it is important to note that common law marriage is not recognized in Chicago, and spouses that cohabitate still must deal with issues of property and asset division and financial responsibilities, among other issues, in the case that they split. This is where a cohabitation agreement may make sense.
Your Questions about Cohabitating in Chicago Answered
If you are in the Chicago area and you have questions about cohabitating with your partner in Chicago or cohabitation agreements, the experienced Chicago cohabitation agreement lawyers at Birnbaum Gelfman Sharma & Arnoux, LLC are here to help. The experienced Chicago cohabitation agreement lawyers at Birnbaum Gelfman Sharma & Arnoux, LLC offer a confidential consultation to learn about your particular case and to see if they can help you. Contact the experienced Chicago cohabitation agreement lawyers at Birnbaum Gelfman Sharma & Arnoux, LLC and speak with an experienced lawyer about your case today.