A Law Career

What Is A Living Together Contract?

by Ruby Mckinney

If you and your partner have decided that marriage is not in the future but you want to remain committed, you may choose to simply live together. Many people have decided to move their relationship forward in this way. While it is not at all uncommon, it could lead to some issues should the relationship end one day. Unlike marriage, where you enter a legal contract that determines the division of assets if it ends, living together offers no legal protection. To safeguard both of your assets, you may want to have a living together contract written.

Why Do You Need a Living Together Contract?

Couples who live together outside the protections of marriage generally live life as if they are married, which often includes the co-mingling of finances. You may purchase a home together, use joint accounts, or put money into both of your retirement funds. If the relationship is no more, you could simply separate your assets and move on. However, it very seldom works out that way.

If you cannot separate amicably, or if you are concerned about what will happen regarding your joint financial decisions should you break up, you may want to have some protection. Otherwise, you will find yourselves in civil court trying to split everything down the middle. A living together contract can help prevent some of these issues. A living together contract allows unmarried couples to state ownership of different items in the relationship. You can also include child arrangements if you have kids together.

What to Include in The Contract

These types of contracts are tailored to each couple's situation. Some things that are included in most contracts are all dealings with money. The contract will need to state who owned what prior to the relationship. It should also list any significant property that was accumulated or received during the relationship. This can be a real estate purchase, significant inheritances, and other major expenses. You also need to include how bills are handled between the two of you and what should happen if one of you passes away.

Putting the Contract In Writing

To help keep the frustrations of a break up to a minimum, it is best to have this agreement in writing. While some courts will accept a verbal agreement, you can mitigate the issue more effectively with a written instrument. This contract is fast and easy to prepare and does not require the assistance of a lawyer. However, you may want to consult with one if you have a lot of expensive assets together. Consider a lawyer from a company like Patton Hoversten & Berg PA if you decide you need one.

While writing up a living together contract is not the most romantic thing in the world, it can be a very helpful tool in your relationship. Be sure to check that this type of contract is valid where you live. You can find out by calling a family attorney in your area.