The concept of a living together contract is unusual to some people, but it can be necessary. The contract can help protect both you and your partner's interests in the relationship. If you are planning to create one, it is important to know what areas to cover.
What Is a Living Together Contract?
A living together contract is similar to a prenuptial agreement. In fact, you can use it as the framework for a prenuptial in the event that you and your partner do marry later. The contract can address the financial areas of your and your partner's lives. If you and your partner separate, you can rely on it to divide your assets and debts. The contract can also be presented in court to show that you and your partner already had an arrangement in case there is some disagreement about how everything is split.
What Should Be Included in the Contract?
The living together contract needs to cover all of the property that you and your partner owned separately before moving in together. It should also cover any property bought separately and as a couple after you are under the same roof. Obviously, the contract will need to be updated as you and your partner make purchases. Other areas to cover in your contract include:
- Inheritances and gifts. Items that are given to solely one partner can either be considered part of the relationship or the property of the recipient. Any property given to you and your partner as a couple belongs to both of you.
- Expenses. You and your partner can agree to split expenses 50-50. You can also deposit your money into one account and pay the bills from it.
- After death. You and your partner can also include provisions for what happens to your separate property after one of you dies. This can also be covered in your wills and other estate plans.
You and your partner should also include information detailing how you want to resolve disputes. For instance, if you and your partner break up and are undecided on what to do with your property, instead of going to court, you can include a provision that you go to mediation first.
A family law attorney can help you and your partner decide what other information needs to be included in your living together contract. In the event that you get married, your attorney can help you with converting it to a prenuptial.