How can a Cohabitation Agreement protect your assets and relationships when living with other people?
So you aren’t getting married (maybe you aren’t even a couple, but you are planning to live together.) You still have expectations. Everyone has them and every relationship is shaped by them. When they are clearly defined and realistic, they are known as “healthy boundaries.” Healthy relationships depend on healthy boundaries. A cohabitation agreement helps you and your living partner communicate these expectations and boundaries.
When you live with someone-your partner, a friend, a family member, or simply a roommate- expectations are a major factor in personal happiness and communal peace. When expectations are too rigid, completely unreasonable (perhaps even absurd), clear like mud, entirely theoretical, or worse still, there are no boundaries at all; neither peace nor happiness are likely.
What is a Cohabitation Agreement?
Cohabitation agreements provide an opportunity for adults who share living accommodations to come together to discuss their individual and shared needs in the home. Ownership of personal property of each cohabitator may be established. Expectations regarding shared and individual financial responsibilities and living habits can be shared, discussed and agreed upon. Terms for exiting the shared living arrangement can also be established.
Your cohabitation agreement can help you and your roommate(s) to be clear about the expectations each of you has for your home life. It also provides the basis for a respectful and amicable shared living experience, free of unnecessary worries that often arise from inconsistent, unrealistic or non-existent boundaries.
Creating a Cohabitation Agreement
Like with a Prenuptial Agreement or other Asset Planning Agreements, this can be a mediated conversation. If two or more of the parties are already living together and seeking conflict resolution, a mediator might even be much preferred. At Compass Legal Services, P.S., an attorney will guide the involved parties through the process of creating a solid framework for cohabitational relationships. Your attorney can meet with parties individually or together. In some cases, where some transience exists in the home with short-term roommates, the head of household may meet with the attorney to discuss the process for creating and updating Cohabitation Agreements that need to be managed regularly in order to accommodate diverse living situations for multiple or transient cohabitators. Our staff is available to help our clients update documents as necessary in such cases.