Should We Sign a Cohabitation Agreement?

Many couples prefer to live together before they are married. Whether or not they plan to go on to ‘tie the knot,’ should they sign a cohabitation agreement before moving in together?There are several types of agreements that are helpful in managing expectations should a relationship end. Prenuptial, cohabitation, and postnuptial agreements are all legal documents that provide guidance should a couple decide to break up.

What is a Cohabitation Agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is a legal document that details the financial responsibilities of a couple who live together. The document details how money matters and other issues are to be resolved should the couple break up or even how matters will be handled during the relationship. This type of document is not common, but it can save you from financial problems or loss if you and your partner split up. The agreement is designed to provide both parties with a fair resolution if the need arises.

What to Include in a Cohabitation Agreement

A cohabitation agreement should be as detailed as possible. You should include instructions regarding how to divide belongings, separate assets, and distribute debts. If you have special items that you want to be sure to keep, list these as part of the agreement. Make a list of property that you owned before you began living together.

Protection When Buying a Home before Marriage

A popular trend is for cohabiting couples to buy homes together before they get married. However, if the relationship fails and the couple doesn’t get married, the house can become a difficult financial problem. Make sure that you provide specific documentation that indicates the amount of money each party put into the down payment, and how much each contributed to monthly mortgage payments. Careful records should be kept by both parties.

Customize a Cohabitation Agreement to Fit Your Needs

Like many types of documents, you can find templates for simple cohabitation agreements in a number of places. A document of this type is very important, and should be customized to your specific needs. Also, some of the templates may not provide the protection you are seeking, and could actually prove to be worse than not having an agreement at all. To avoid these problems, it is best to have a cohabitation agreement written and executed by a qualified attorney.

Call the experienced legal team at Udall Shumway PLC to schedule a consultation to discuss your needs today.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding A Cohabitation Agreement, or other family law issues, please feel free to contact Barry C. Dickerson at 480.461.5300, log on to, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools, and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.