When discussing if a cohabitation agreement is worth it to you, consider these situations: what if you don’t have one or what if you have one that isn’t well-written? Potential issues and costs may be significant! Consider these potential scenarios:
- No Agreement and you Break-Up. What happens to real estate or things you purchased together such as a car? A cohabitating couple can, merely by the words they speak, enter a contract in which one or both partners are legally obligated to pay the other in the event of a breakup. In the worst-case scenario, a court could order you legally obligated to give your ex some of your property after a breakup. And finding out that ruling could come only after you go to court and fight it out, a process which is usually costly.
- You Break Up with Poorly Written Agreement. Breaking up with a poorly worded cohabitation agreement can be even worse than not having drafted one in place at all. A poorly written cohabitation agreement also leads to an expectation that you’ll be covered should the relationship end. You could come to rely on that expectation and think you’re protected, only to have a court tell you this expectation not true!
- The Relationship Is Ideal, But Then Something Happens. No matter how committed you and your partner are to each other, how strongly you feel about each other, and how healthy your relationship is, the law simply doesn’t give you the same rights as a married couple. If someone becomes sick medical decisions need to be made as a non-married partner, you don’t have that right. Instead, your partner’s parents, siblings, or possibly even more distant relatives may have the legal right to make life-or-death choices for the person you’re closest to in the world. In these situations, the monetary costs associated with any legal fights that might arise could be the least of your worries, as the stress and emotional toll from having to go through such a situation can be devastating.
No matter what, you know your relationship is strong and you want to make sure you’re both protected, this is why you should have a cohabitation agreement with your partner.