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Getting it in writing isn’t about penmanship

So here is a novel idea when it comes to your relationship – go to a lawyer and get a cohabitation contract drawn up.  I’m not talking about who does the dishes and who takes out the trash – if you can’t handle that without an attorney then you have bigger problems than the simple division of labor.

A cohabitation contract is to erase any doubt as to what happens in the event of a break-up.  Things that may be included:

  • An outline of who brought what into the relationship and the agreement that assets held prior to the contract remain with the person who brought them into the relationship.
  • How bank accounts are to be divided.
  • How property is to be divided and who gets to stay in the house.
  • How other financial assets are to be divided (investment accounts, retirement accounts, etc.)
  • How debt is to be divided and a timeline for repayment to creditors.
  • How are prized assets (think more sentimental value than financial value) are to be divided (this is where you would include your Nan’s china).
  • How gifts are to be divided (you’d be surprised how many couples fight over a microwave given by a parent).
  • Custody agreement of pets and/or children.
  • Fill-in-the-blank letters to companies outlining the division of assets/debts and requesting the removal of partner from the account.
  • Confidentiality agreement to protect the reputations of both parties.
  • Agreement to use mediation or arbitration to resolve any outstanding disputes.
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2 responses to “Getting it in writing isn’t about penmanship

  1. thisshygirl ⋅

    One question, this is for couples living together that are not married right?

    • Yes, a cohabitation contract is for unmarried couples who are living together. I’m also a big believer in pre- and post-nuptial contracts. During a break-up you have enough to worry about without having to defend your finances as well.

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