Living together but unmarried? Here’s how to protect your assets

It is common for couples to live together outside of marriage. Although this is a normal circumstance, what happens if you split up? Chances are your finances and assets are intermingled, and you may have concerns about safeguarding your finances and assets if you break up. Because you are not in a marital relationship, you cannot enact a prenuptial agreement for this purpose.

However, you have an option. You can sign a cohabitation agreement or living-together contract to protect your interests.

The basics of a nonmarital contract

A cohabitation agreement is a legal document you can create to protect your individual assets and interests. If your relationship ends outside of the legalities of marriage where you do not go through the court to divide assets or have the option to have a prenup or postnup, there may be disastrous conflicts. A living-together agreement can provide some of these protections without the need to enter a marriage.

What it covers

There are certain requirements you must meet in order for your contract to be valid and legally enforceable. Your document should be exhaustive to avoid disputes later. You may want to cover the following matters in your agreement:

  • Defining financial support payments after a breakup
    Dividing the home after a breakup
  • Distributing property after a breakup
  • Creating joint tenancy with the right to survivorship
  • Adding the name of a partner to a deed
  • Determining responsibility for health care insurance

When you want to create a cohabitation agreement, you should be reasonable with your partner and get legal assistance. Talking about a legal contract for your relationship may not be the most romantic thing in the world, but it may be necessary, especially if one or both of you own significant assets. Consider whether a nonmarital contract is right for your relationship.