Moving in together can be a big step for a romantic relationship. Historically, most couples did not live together before marriage, but times have changed.
According to the Pew Research Center, more adults have cohabited than have been married. For some couples, living together can be a step toward marriage. Other couples choose to live together for the convenience or financial benefits it can bring.
Living together could make a breakup more complicated
Whatever the reason, if you and your significant other are planning to live together, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind:
- Possessions are likely to be mixed together
- Unmarried couples who are living together do not have the same legal protections as married couples
- The future is never certain
This means that if you and your significant other decide to break up, it can be a messy process to divide your possessions. One of you could walk away with everything, while the other person walks away with nothing. This could include property you owned before cohabitation, property you and your significant other purchased together, pets and the contents of any joint accounts.
Fortunately, this does not necessarily mean that you need to get married before living together. There is another way you can protect your interests.
What is a cohabitation agreement?
A cohabitation agreement offers you and your significant other similar protection as a prenuptial agreement would offer a married couple. It is a contract between you and your significant other that details how possessions will be divided if your relationship does not work out. It can be as general or detailed as your situation merits.
A cohabitation agreement may not be appropriate for every situation. However, if you and your significant other are living together, it may be one way to help ensure you both will be protected from any unfair treatment during a breakup.