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As host of "Handel Yourself in the Morning" Bill has attained #1 status in Los Angeles's highly competitive morning drive time radio and recently was the winner of Radio and Records News/Talk Personality of the Year. Heard on KFI AM 640 - the most listened to news/talk station in America - the show features Bill's unique perspective on topical issues and pop culture. Highly informative, hilarious, edgy and entertaining are just a few of the words frequently used to describe the show. On June 12th, 2009, Bill was honored by Hollywood Chamber of Commerce with a star on the legendary Walk of Fame at 6640 Hollywood Blvd. [view photos]
In addition to his success in talk radio, Bill is a renowned expert on the legal aspects of Reproductive Technology and has provided legal counsel for several hundred cases of third party reproduction. Bill serves as Director of the Center for Surrogate Parenting, Inc. in Encino, California and Annapolis, Maryland, which has been helping couples become families for over 32 years. He has lectured at universities and medical conferences on several continents and has written articles for numerous medical and legal journals. His expertise on this topic has been featured in articles for the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and other publications and he has appeared on hundreds of television shows including "60 minutes," "Nightline," "48 Hours," "Today," "Frontline," "Crossfire," as well as BBC Television and CNN. (In 1996 Bill hosted a nationally syndicated talk show, "Judge for Yourself." The show celebrated one season of success and Bill is forever grateful to the eleven viewers that tuned in.)
Bill received his B.A. at California State University Northridge and his J.D. at Whittier College of Law. He has been an adjunct professor of Law at Whittier College School of Law where he taught "Legal Aspects of Reproduction Technology."
It used be called "shacking up." Thankfully, this phrase has largely disappeared from the English lexicon, because it hardly seems appropriate to describe one of every five most important social trends of the last generation. More than 12 million unmarried partners now live together. This figure increased by a factor of ten between 1960 and 2000, and almost doubled between 1990 and 2007, when the Census Bureau last published data about this phenomenon.
With the rise of households that include unmarried partners, increasing attention is being devoted to meeting their legal needs. That's where cohabitation agreements come into play. Although unmarried heterosexual and homosexual partners who live together often believe that they are in a committed relationship, the law often treats them as strangers.
Cohabitation agreements can cover many of the same issues that are governed by prenuptial agreements. Thus, cohabitation agreements can cover the following topics:
In addition, a cohabitation agreement can include terms relating to child support and custody, but such terms are not binding on a court. In the event of a dispute, judges often consider what the parties agreed to at one time, but will generally apply the law independently of what's in the cohabitation agreement.
Despite the superficial similarities between cohabitation agreements and prenuptial agreements, there are crucial differences between the two. Most notably, cohabitation agreements are private agreements that are governed by the general contract law principles. Prenuptial agreements, by contrast, must meet specific requirements to be valid. As a result, prenuptial agreements that are properly drafted will still be effective if the cohabiting couple gets married. Cohabitation agreements generally lose their effect upon marriage.
Cohabitation agreements are far from a perfect solution. The law showers married couples with benefits that cannot be replicated in a cohabitation agreement. Nonetheless, such agreements can provide important protections to unmarried couples who live together.
If cohabitation agreements don't convince you that being single isn't what it used to be, consider this: almost 40% of all homes were purchased by unmarried people. According to Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies , single women bought one out of every five homes purchased in 2006. It wouldn't be surprising if that figure declined during the economic downturn.
But it's just one more sign that we are undergoing rapid demographic changes, to which the law is often too slow to adjust.
As always, I hope this family law advice can serve to strengthen successful relationships. If you have any questions, do let me know.
Certified Family Law Specialist
Sussman & Associates
[Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information can not be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither HandelontheLaw.com, or any of its affiliates, shall have any liability stemming from this article.]