Living Together: What You Should and Shouldn’t Do

Man and woman talking to their lawyer about cohabitation agreementSo you have decided to shack up with your partner. That is all fine and dandy. But while the law provides great protections to married couples, cohabitation of partners, unfortunately, have none. What happens if you break up? What about all the money and property you have acquired together?

If you do not want to be blindsided if your relationship does not work out, consider the following cohabitation DO’s and DON’Ts.

Things You Should DO

Have a cohabitation agreement. This would help both of you avoid awkward and vague situations when your relationship ends.
Keep your money separate and specify which properties belong to whom.
Make sure that titles to significant purchases like a vehicle or house are in the name of the individual who is paying for them.
If you jointly buy any property, ensure that the title has both your names.
Make lists of both of your financial contributions to avoid financial dependency.

Things You Should NOT DO

Incur debt jointly or cosign on each other’s debt or you will be legally obligated to repay debts that would not otherwise have been legally yours.
Proclaim that you are married since common-law marriage might apply to you even after you have ended your relationship, warns a family law attorney here in Denver, CO. Likewise, you could be charged with fraud if your documents and forms indicated you’re married when you’re not.

Fail to include yourself on properties that you purchased jointly. Your name on the title or deed is more persuasive than merely saying you helped buy a property.
Be financially dependent on your partner because once your relationship ends, you will not have any rights to assets of property, unless stated otherwise in a cohabitation agreement.

It is also vital to know that laws that apply to cohabitation arrangements differ from state to state. Some make sure to read up on your state laws and speak with a family attorney to help you make a cohabitation agreement.

This is very important since in plenty of cases, ending a cohabitation arrangement often results in a lawsuit, particularly to couples that do not have agreements.