Not everyone dreams of getting married one day. Maybe you’re just not the marrying type. Maybe you were a child of divorce, and you worry about what marriage could mean for your otherwise healthy relationship.
Whatever your reasons, you know that marriage just isn’t in the cards for you. You’re still completely committed to your partner and want to build a life together. You just don’t want to be a spouse.
For serious, committed relationships out of wedlock, it can be helpful to sit down with your partner and think through the different aspects of your relationship that you want to protect. You may have heard of prenuptial or postnuptial agreements – which can help to strengthen your relationship with your spouse and open up conversations about what matters to you both. For unmarried couples, there’s a similar option available: the cohabitation agreement.
What is a cohabitation agreement?
Similar to a prenuptial agreement, a cohabitation agreement is a legal agreement you and your partner draft together with a lawyer. You can choose what you want to include in the agreement. You may come to agreements on aspects of your current relationship. Or you may decide to plan for property and financial divisions in the event that you break up. You may also use such an agreement to protect your partner if you experience an unexpected tragedy.
Why consider a cohabitation agreement?
Maybe you and your partner have different financial management strategies, and you’re worried about the consequences of their over-spending. If you come to an agreement about finances – and put it in writing – it can reduce stress in your relationship. Financial concerns are a leading cause of break ups.
You may also want to create a cohabitation agreement to plan for the worst. As an unmarried couple, your partner is not entitled to any inheritance if you should pass away. Your cohabitation agreement can help ensure that your partner is provided for when you’re gone.
Cohabitation agreements – and prenuptial agreements – can get a bad reputation as being breakup planners. This does not have to be the case. In many cases, such an agreement helps couples to address underlying issues that they wouldn’t have otherwise discussed. It can keep partners on the same page and give them the tools to protect their relationship.