A lot of people opt to live together without getting married. Some do this because they don’t see a reason to get married. If this is something you opted for with your partner, it’s important that you know how to write a cohabitation agreement.
Also known as a cohab, this document helps protect you from forfeiting your financial benefits. These benefits are typically only legally entitled to people when their relationships dissolve.
Even though a verbal agreement may now be considered legally binding, it is much easier to prove things when you have a contract to prove it. This article will guide you through the importance of a cohab.
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What is a Cohabitation Agreement?
A cohab is a legal document that two people enter when they live together. As such, the paper is also referred to as a living together agreement.
It is where you can detail the ownership of your existing assets and financial responsibilities. If ever you decide to break up, the document is there to split jointly owned assets accordingly.
What does a cohab cover?
If you’re trying to learn how to create a cohabitation agreement, you will simply need to discuss the properties owned by each party. The document also covers the following:
- Home deposit
- Property ownership
- Rent or mortgage share to pay
- Bank accounts and money
- Life insurance
- Household bills
- Next of kin rights
- Payment of debts
Free Cohabitation Agreement Template
Writing a cohabitation agreement does not need to take much of your time. You can use a template and customize it with the necessary information. Once you’re done, you simply need to download the file and have it notarized.
How to Write a Cohabitation Agreement and What to Include
Every cohabitation document is different and is usually created based on the couples’ circumstances. But generally speaking, these typically include these elements:
Previously owned property
You will need to designate the property you brought into the relationship. Some examples include your bank accounts, furniture, cars, and real estate.
Previously incurred debt
This document will clearly state the kind of debt you both had prior to deciding to live together. At the same time, it will help protect you from being liable for the debt of your ex.
Rent/mortgage payment arrangements
Now that you’ve decided to live together with your partner, you need to establish whose name will be on the deed of the property and who will be paying the mortgage.
If you are renting, the document needs to detail whether both or only one name will be listed on the lease.
Bills, utilities, and expenses
You also need to include a breakdown of the financial responsibilities that you incur together. Discuss how your electric, cable, water, groceries, and other expenses will be paid. You can also put into writing your decision to combine auto or renter’s insurance.
If you have a child together, you can detail custody and visitation information when drafting a cohabitation agreement. In the event that you separate, you can seek help from the court if the arrangement is not honored.
Although pets are considered family members, there are still some states that regard them as property. You need to discuss who gets to keep the pets acquired before and during the relationship.
Property acquired together
While together, it is normal that you would acquire property down the line. This is why you need to put into writing who gets to keep certain property in the event of a breakup.
The document can also list your joint bank account, furniture, and appliances.
Debt acquired together
It’s also wise to put your debts acquired together in the agreement so that each party knows their responsibilities. If you decide to keep the asset for yourself, you can check the earlier arrangement for any possible issues.
The biggest advantage of including these things when writing cohabitation agreements is that any potential misunderstandings can be avoided.
Do You Need a Cohab?
Many couples believe that common-law marriage is enough to protect them. Unfortunately, no such law exists for unmarried individuals who are living together. You do not have the same legal rights that married couples do. As such, having a cohab can give you peace of mind from this.
How Fill Can Help Write a Cohabitation Agreement
Learning how to draft a cohabitation agreement can be helpful in such cases since it’s something you can put into practice. But to help make the process faster and easier, you can use Fill’s template for this.
You just need to sign up for a free account, browse through the template gallery, and complete the necessary information. Once you’re done, you can send the document to your partner and have him affix their digital signature via Fill.