Living Together? Protect your interests!
Couples do it all the time. Because they are attracted to one another, they move in together without any sort of formality. Sometimes they agree informally on an expense-sharing arrangement (usually 50/50, without regard to the realities). Most often, there is no agreement.
Informal relationships – i.e. unmarried couples – have a much higher ‘divorce’ rate than formal marriages, mainly because they are not joined to one another by legal ties. So it is vital that they protect their interests.
Here are five tips for action up front, to limit the fallout when the relationship breaks down:
1. Get advice and a written cohabitation agreement before moving in or making any sort of commitment. Like a marriage, a cohabitation agreement is a financial arrangement. Do not ‘save money’ by doing your own agreement or leaving it ‘for later’.
2. Get your domestic assets valued and create a list of them. Have it initialed by your partner. Keep it with the agreement.
3. Talk to an insurance broker, about short term (house and car) insurance. You cannot ‘share’ the insurance unless you do it formally and the insurance company has confirmed that they have you (both) covered.
4. Keep records of any assets sold and the acquisition of any replacements. Agree who will make payments and who will own the replacements. A simple note, attached to the invoice, will do. Keep it in the file with the agreement.
5. Do not lend money to one another and do not sign as surety for one another’s debts. Keep your joint financial arrangements within the bounds of the agreement. Keep everything else separate and confidential.
When cracks appear in the relationship, see a lawyer – not to have a fight, but to resolve things peacefully. You’ll save money and save face!
Roger Knowles Attorneys
Family Law Specialist lawyers and mediators; Divorce; Parents & Children; Grandparents; Cohabitation; Curators; Maintenance; International Divorce; Domestic Violence and more.