Monday, December 15, 2008

Things to think about before moving in together

The Coors Credit Union Blog has Things to think about before moving in together. Mostly the same points I have been trying to make since I started writing this blog. Still, I think someone might just listen sooner or later and so I keep repeating myself. (For those wanting to see the earlier articles, just click on the living together and/or cohabitation labels below this post).

"It's in the best interest of both of you to accept these realities and make a written agreement. Who pays for what doesn't necessarily need to be in a formal document. But it's best if you put what happens to your stuff into a legal cohabitation agreement. Don't assume that you'll both be cooperative if you should break up or that your assets will be divided equitably."


If you and your sweetie should fall in love with a house both of your names can be on the title. However, if you finance the majority of the purchase and later breakup, then without a prior agreement you may only get half the value of the home.

Cohabitation agreements aren't just people who are wealthy. What they do is give you some of the legal rights you could be missing out on if you aren't officially married. Hopefully you'll never need to pull it out after it's created, but besides breaking up there are other instances when it could come in handy. If your sweetie should become seriously ill, this is one document that could spell out how assets should be handled.


Here's a good example of what a cohabitation agreement could look like. It doesn't have to be drawn up by an attorney, but it's a good idea get one to look it over. If one of you writes the agreement and it's not reviewed by an attorney it could later be construed by a court against the partner who drew it up. And it's best to use separate attorneys to represent each of your interests. This makes it more fair. Most states do recognize cohabitation agreements for either heterosexual or same-sex couples.


Sure there is nothing romantic about dividing up bills and discussing your possible breakup, but creating an agreement is a healthy move for your relationship. It gives you the chance to clearly set out what responsibilities and assets you have. Which leads to honesty--Be Honest. Don't hide assets from your partner. This could burn you later. If you're bringing more to the relationship than your sweetie write it into the agreement. Make it clear that your inheritance from grandma or other money stash has nothing to do with this relationship--if that's how you feel.
I looked at the form and it is a good one. Certainly a good place to start any conversation with a lawyer about drafting your own cohabitation agreement.

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