A lot of couples meet with a family attorney to create a prenuptial agreement in advance of their marriage, but may overlook the need for protection of this manner in the months or years beforehand. If you're planning to move in with your partner, having an family law attorney draft up a cohabitation agreement for you is a smart step to take. You might not have heard of this legal document, but it's similar to a prenuptial agreement — only for couples who haven't tied the knot. Here are three reasons that signing a cohabitation agreement is a good idea for you and your partner.
Clear Boundaries on Assets
It's possible that you and your partner might split up in the future, and while you probably don't want to think about this idea, it's good to admit that it could happen. The legal waters can get murky concerning the division of assets for non-married couples, but a cohabitation agreement will ensure clarity. For example, if your partner doesn't work and you pay virtually all of the household expenses, it's not fair for him or her to lay claim to half of the value of the condo or house upon your breakup. When you write up a cohabitation agreement with your attorney, the boundaries in this area will be clear.
No Incurring of the Other's Debt
You don't always know the full financial picture of someone with whom you begin a relationship. You may get along well with the other person without realizing that he or she has some concerning financial issues. If your partner has a significant debt, regardless of whether you know about it at the time that you begin living together, he or she could hire an attorney and campaign for you to put money toward the debt in the event of a breakup. A cohabitation agreement can protect you from this financial risk.
Easier to Move On
When you've dated someone, lived with him or her, and then decided to go your separate ways, a quick and clean breakup is generally easiest. A cohabitation agreement can make this life event go quickly and smoothly. Without this document, you may find yourself embroiled in legal issues against the person — which only means that you're dealing with him or her and thinking about him or her for longer than you might like. Many family attorneys have helped non-married clients with cohabitation agreements, so discuss this topic with your local family law professional.