Romantic partners are living together all the time these days without getting married (and even without the intention of ever getting married).  There are important considerations to keep in mind when you make the decision to live with someone else, especially when you are romantically involved.

Some people choose to enter into cohabitation agreements.  A cohabitation agreement is a written agreement between people who are living together for an extended period of time; often a contract between unmarried romantic partners to set out their rights and obligations when their relationship ends.

Just like many married people choose not to enter into a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage, a cohabitation agreement is not necessary prior to living together.  In addition, like a postnuptial agreement, a cohabitation agreement can be developed after living together.

Whether a cohabitation agreement is right for you or not, thinking about some important questions and talking about them before making the move to live together can help clarify each partner’s goals, beliefs, and values ahead of time to increase the likelihood of everyone being on the same page.  Some questions to consider are:

  • Do either of you have children? What role is the other person going to play in parenting matters?
  • How are you going to handle bills and expenses? How are you going to handle the finances?
  • Who’s bringing what into the house? If you break up, how will personal property be divided?
  • How are you going to handle major purchases – like a house, vehicles, etc.?
  • Do you need an estate plan to make sure your partner can be your beneficiary and/or make major decisions for you if you cannot do so?

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