So you and your significant other have decided to take your relationship to the next level and move in together. But, you are not interested in walking down the aisle and exchanging vows; at least not yet. This is quite common. Many couples opt to live together without getting married. Cohabiting is a great way for couples to learn about one another without the legal entanglements created by marriage.
However, it is important you realize that you will be sharing your life with another person and if things don't work out, you want to be sure your personal financial interests are protected. Thus, you may want to consider working with your partner to create a "living together agreement," also commonly referred to as a "cohabitation agreement."
As you may have surmised, a cohabitation agreement is similar to a prenuptial agreement. Both outline what should happen in the event your relationship comes to an end. However, cohabitation agreements are typically less regulated and more flexible than a prenup. And cohabitation agreements are generally enforceable in a court of law.
The following are some common items included in cohabitation agreements:
- Conditions of debt payments both during and after the relationship.
- Details of property distribution in the event of a breakup or death.
- Details regarding the responsibility of providing health insurance.
These examples give you some idea of the kinds of things that you may want to consider including in your cohabitation agreement. Perhaps you don't think that an agreement is necessary, but the fact is, life gets more complicated as time goes on. Both you and your partner will likely acquire new responsibilities as well as assets and debts. And if there comes a time where you decide to go your separate ways, you want to make sure that you get an appropriate portion of your shared household.
Therefore, before things get too complex, it may be a good idea to contact an experienced family law attorney. The attorney can help you craft an agreement that clearly delineates you and your partner's rights and responsibilities.