Author Topic: Should I get a cohabitation agreement?  (Read 1320 times)

Healthie

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Should I get a cohabitation agreement?
« on: April 06, 2020, 10:03:14 PM »
My girlfriend is moving into my home in a few months. I own a house and have about 15k in the bank. She has no assets, car payments on a 34k truck, and another year of school. She’ll be making better money than me when she’s graduated. Her family is welloff financially, I would be surprised if she tried to get money out of me if it ended, but I know a lot of guys feel this way. Please advise.

SKL-HOU

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Re: Should I get a cohabitation agreement?
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2020, 01:18:28 AM »
I would. Not necessarily because she will ask for money but just to make things clear and simpler in case of a split. And some people get real  petty  when things dont go their way.

jeroly

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Re: Should I get a cohabitation agreement?
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2020, 01:29:54 AM »
Not unless you're buying property together or getting married.
Would you require a cohabitation agreement from someone sleeping on your couch for a few weeks?
You've got certain rights anyway and I don't see a cohabitation agreement giving you extra rights you don't already have.

marty998

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Re: Should I get a cohabitation agreement?
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2020, 02:52:34 AM »
You should get legal advice specific to the local laws of your area.

You don't want to find yourself in a position where a court deems you to be in a domestic partnership and she gets half of your house if you split.

Askel

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Re: Should I get a cohabitation agreement?
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2020, 04:17:14 AM »
Aren't you just the romantic.... :D

I can't see how you are possibly at risk for anything if your girlfriend decides to leave. 

Or you could just do the olde fashioned style of cohabitation agreement- getting married. 

It sort of sounds like you want all the security of marriage without the commitment part. 

No matter what, just be an actual adult and communicate your expectations in a straightforward manner instead of trying to do so with legal documents. 


jeroly

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Re: Should I get a cohabitation agreement?
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2020, 04:23:46 AM »
You should get legal advice specific to the local laws of your area.

You don't want to find yourself in a position where a court deems you to be in a domestic partnership and she gets half of your house if you split.
No court will ever find you to be in a domestic partnership unless you have specifically registered as such.
It is possible for you to be held to be in a 'common-law marriage,' however, but those tend to come into play for long-term relationships.

More info can be found at https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/free-books/living-together-book/chapter2-4.html

Malcat

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Re: Should I get a cohabitation agreement?
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2020, 05:49:36 AM »
DO NOT base major relationship decisions on what you think a bunch of other guys find important.

Also, these types of agreements don't just benefit one party, they are most useful when both people involved look at the legalities of their particular situation and both think "Hmm, the default laws really don't apply fairly to our situation".

It's always a good idea to familiarize yourself with whatever laws apply to whatever situation you are in, not just in terms of relationships, that's just a good idea overall. So yes, look into what laws apply to your situation and plan accordingly *with your partner* if you guys aren't happy with the implications of those laws.

If you are just looking at this as a means to somehow "protect yourself", then you are off to a very bad start.

Dee18

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Re: Should I get a cohabitation agreement?
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2020, 08:25:00 AM »
Do find out what the local laws are...especially now.  This weekend I spoke with a friend who was letting someone (a friend of his son) stay in his Seattle home for several weeks while my friend finished working in Philly.  It is almost time for him and his wife to return to Seattle, but he said a current special law for the pandemic means the tenant (who was not paying rent, just chipping in on utilities) can stay.

spartana

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Re: Should I get a cohabitation agreement?
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2020, 01:06:50 PM »
It depends. Both on the country or state you live in as well as how you are structuring any shared assets/liabilities. In most states in the US common law marriage isn't a thing and most live-together relationships are treated like roommates if assets or liabities aren't legally combined. So you wouldn't be liable for her truck loan (and I will be the first to say WTF!!) or her for your house loan. So just a simple agreement where you determine rent, utilities and length of stay, etc would be sufficent.

GizmoTX

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Re: Should I get a cohabitation agreement?
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2020, 01:37:21 PM »
Our niece & her BF moved in together, new apartment for both of them after a long distance relationship elsewhere, & both had to be on the 1 year lease. BF decided to break up & move out after 4 months. He was decent enough to pay his share for the rest of the lease, but Niece could have been stuck with the entire payment that she could not afford. She could not get him off the lease unless it was renegotiated for a possibly higher payment, so he legally still had access to the apartment & mailbox -- not a comfortable situation.

calimom

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Re: Should I get a cohabitation agreement?
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2020, 02:13:33 PM »
A loan on a $34,000 truck?? While in school and presumably not working or working part time? That's crazy talk right there.

SunnyDays

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Re: Should I get a cohabitation agreement?
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2020, 06:00:12 PM »
Where I live, you two would be considered to be in a common-law marriage after living together for 6 months, with all the legal rights a true marriage entails.  So check out your laws!

jeroly

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Re: Should I get a cohabitation agreement?
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2020, 08:51:30 PM »
Where I live, you two would be considered to be in a common-law marriage after living together for 6 months, with all the legal rights a true marriage entails.  So check out your laws!
Not if you still live in Manitoba where it's three years, or one if you have a kid...

https://www.gov.mb.ca/justice/crown/family/law/commonlaw.html

MarciaB

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Re: Should I get a cohabitation agreement?
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2020, 09:20:59 AM »
A loan on a $34,000 truck?? While in school and presumably not working or working part time? That's crazy talk right there.

Yup - that was my first thought too. BIG RED FLAG! Unless of course what she's studying in school is construction management, or welding or horse shoeing, or something where she needs to transport large heavy items around.

spartana

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Re: Should I get a cohabitation agreement?
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2020, 09:31:44 AM »
A loan on a $34,000 truck?? While in school and presumably not working or working part time? That's crazy talk right there.

Yup - that was my first thought too. BIG RED FLAG! Unless of course what she's studying in school is construction management, or welding or horse shoeing, or something where she needs to transport large heavy items around.
Yeah HUGE red flag. But, if the OP is in the US and if she doesn't put him on the car loan, at least he won't be liable for that. Now if they married (or lived in a country that had common law marriage) that would likely be a different thing. And now with the world job market in the tank there is no guarantee she will find a job once she's out of school, let alone a high paying one.

ETA: OP I'm curious how you guys are planning to structure your living arrangement financially. Will she pay you rent? Half the utilities? Shared food and entertainment costs? Or will you be supporting her until she gets a job? FWIW I will be moving in with BF this summer. He owns a house with a mortgage (and I own a house that is paid off that I will rent out) and we both have fairly large assets. We do not plan to marry or combine assets or finances. I will pay a monthly rent and half share of utilities and food. There's no need for a co-habitation agreement or anything legal in our state as we are considered completely seperate financial entities with no legal rights to each others stuff.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2020, 09:42:48 AM by spartana »

Peachtea

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Re: Should I get a cohabitation agreement?
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2020, 04:31:09 PM »
If you are in the US, then no. I mean do your due diligence re your state laws, but very few states have common law marriage and I believe the ones that do require that you “hold yourself out” as married to meet the requirements. Otherwise it seems over the top for just living together - at if you mean it to have some kind of legal significance rather than just set out expectations. Even in marriage most states treat pre-marriage debts and assets as separate. Your not responsible for her bills unless you sign (literally) up to be.

OTOH it’s a good idea to have clear expectations, both re financial and household contributions. How are you going to split joint expenses, what’s exactly is joint expense, whose doing what for household chores? Will that change once she has a job? How?