When you and your significant other move in together and begin sharing joint financial obligations, it can create some sticky legal conflicts if your romantic relationship comes to an end. In marriage, both spouses have agreed, wittingly or not, to a certain set of financial and legal obligations regarding assets, property, and so on. However, the details of unmarried couples’ entanglements are not subject to state and local laws, nor are there any contractual rules that provide direction or establish rights for either party in the event of a split or the death of one person.
Why Relationship Agreements or Living Together Contracts Matter
Most couples don’t jump into romantic relationships anticipating the end. However, it is critically important to provide yourself and your partner a minimally complicated, mutually agreed-upon exit strategy at the point you begin to mingle assets, purchase property, make shared investments, start a family together, or take on any other shared obligations.
Some couples are able to quietly divide their shared property and obligations without much conflict or disagreement. However, the majority of couples who split up do not do so amicably and experience a great deal of contention and fighting during the process of separation. Because there is no way to know for certain whether your relationship will end poorly, well, sooner, later, or at all, it is in your best interest to have the important details of your property and financial obligations outlined in writing, in case the worst happens. This is when a relationship agreement becomes necessary.
What Goes Into a Relationship Agreement
Non-marital agreements must be as specific and detailed as possible. It may seem tedious in the moment to go over all the ins and outs of your living expenses, property ownership, and so on, but it will be worth it should you both decide to call it quits, or if one of you passes away. Be sure to consider the following when formulating a contract:
- What property is shared and what is personal?
- What property has been gifted to or by either of you during the relationship?
- What property have you inherited during your relationship?
- Who will maintain ownership of significant assets to which you are both financially obligated, should one of you die or your relationship end? (Boats, houses, cars, etc.)
- What method will you both use to resolve any potential future disagreements about property division, finances, major assets, etc.?
How to Create a Living Together Agreement
It is not unheard of for people to write and draft their own non-marital contracts. In the short run, you may be able to put your mutual agreements down in writing and do your best to anticipate potential points of conflict or confusion in the event of death or the termination of your relationship. However, an experienced family lawyer will know exactly what you need to consider and can help you put it in writing.
Get in Touch with a New York City Family Law Attorney Today
At Goldweber Epstein LLP, we have served a wide variety of families and couples, and know what sort of potential conflicts you may face. Our years of experience allow us to help you be as prepared as possible for the future while giving you peace of mind in the present. Don’t wait until your relationship is on the rocks to get the help you need. Start getting your relational, legal ducks in a row by contacting a New York City family law attorney today.
Call us at (917) 809-7669 immediately or reach out to us online to schedule a free initial consultation.