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What is a living together contract?

A "living together contract" is to cohabitating and unmarried couples as "prenuptial agreements" are to married couples. These contracts are part of a growing trend to streamline breakups between couples that often spend years acquiring property together. Disentangling the lives of an unmarried couple can be just as complicated as a married couple. To reduce some of the uncertainty, are living together contracts. This article will discuss these contracts and how enforceable they may be.

These agreements follow the same rules as prenuptial agreements. A living together contract can make recommendations for child custody and support, but the court will make a final ruling. These contracts can dispose of financial assets such as property, spousal support and retirement, but the provisions must be fair. Finally, just like a prenuptial agreement, the living together contract cannot require personal services in exchange for financial support.

These contracts are typically used to allocate the following items:

  • The allocation of debt responsibilities.
  • Property division.
  • Partner support (i.e., "spousal support").
  • Inheritance by either partner.
  • Creating health care directive and power of attorney for medical decisions.

Given your circumstances, you may wish to consider crafting a living together contract. Such a contract could provide both parties with important protections and may prove useful in the event you choose to discontinue the relationship or if one partner should need the legal right to make decisions for the other.

If you are cohabiting with your partner, then you may want to speak to a family law attorney. These contracts follow many of the same rules as prenuptial agreements. A legal professional can help you draft a living together contract so that it remains enforceable and is flexible enough to adapt with you as you grow as a couple. These agreements don't mean you think your relationship will end, they are only intended as a backup so that your entire lives don't become consumed by a breakup.

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