Last month we discussed a few issues that couples should consider when they begin to live together, but don’t plan to or anticipate getting married very soon. This month, we will look at some other important life decisions which may have a huge impact on people’s lives and relationships:
As the national divorce rate for new marriages hovers around 50%, couples living together before marriage or in lieu of marriage is an increasingly routine arrangement. Media coverage has played a part by confirming what many people knew anecdotally: that people are choosing to live together as a committed couple without ever getting married.
What is also increasing in frequency and necessity is for cohabitating couples to be proactive in laying the legal groundwork for how they plan to live together, acquire or pay for assets, and how they should disentangle themselves from such arrangements in the event that they break-up. It can be a difficult conversation to have – no less difficult than one party asking the other for a pre-nuptial agreement – and the introduction of real world considerations may burst the romantic bubble for some, but the risks are real and people’s lives change – the boyfriend with a steady paycheck has gone back to school and is unable to pay half the mortgage; your girlfriend can not afford her to contribute to household expenses when she loses her job; you have a child together.
The ease of cohabitation without the apparent messiness or seemingly permanence of marriage can actually create a larger quagmire of difficulty if the relationship ends. If you are considering cohabitating with your partner, there are a few things worth considering: