You are not ready to tie the knot but you and boo want to take your relationship to the next level. You plan to move in together. Do you just go with flow or do you need a written agreement?
If you create a contract, are you undermining the romantic aspects of your evolving union? In other words, is it just too weird to turn your love into a business deal?
A contract for a cohabitating couple is not weird at all. In fact, it’s like marriage, just with more limited terms and responsibilities. Marriage has historically been a practical arrangement and not so much a romantic endeavor, a deal between families, forged for the benefit of two clans. The feelings of the couple might have married little to their parents who viewed the arrangement like a business deal and sealed it with a contract.
A living together or cohabitation contract simply outlines the legally enforceable terms of your arrangement and sets out in advance conditions for terminating it or making changes. This avoids any surprises about expectations and provides you with an opportunity to get to know your true love a little better.
There is no specific way to approach a cohabitation contract. Make a checklist for yourself of all the possible issues — rent, chores, housecleaning, whether or not there are any expectations of support or inheritance. What do you expect to do in case of medical emergency? How precisely will you pay for and split bills? Everything that is a big deal or could become one should be on your list. But only you can and boo can make a list taht works for your needs specifically.
Drawing Up the Contract
As you and your mate discuss the arrangement you are willing to make, you may discover interesting things about each other. You may even learn that this person does not share your notions or values as you imagined. Discussing the contract could be a great way to explore some difficult ideas about responsibility and commitment and how these manifest materially.
Consult With Counsel
If you are planning to move in with a mate, don’t hesitate to meet with a lawyer and discuss a cohabitation contract. Many lawyers consult for free or no fee and would be happy to help you figure out next steps. Get Help.
- Find a Lawyer (FindLaw Directory)
- Lessons Learned the Hard Way: Cohabitation and the Law (FindLaw)
- Marriage vs. Cohabitation (FindLaw)