What is a Cohabitation Agreement?

signing a contract

To put it simply, a cohabitation agreement is a contract you sign with somebody that you live with. These agreements can be made between roommates or anyone who shares living space, but they are often most useful for couples who have been together for a long time without getting married. Such agreements can offer you some legal protections and make it easier to solve any disputes that may arise. If you are considering drafting a cohabitation agreement of your own, our cohabitation attorneys in Bergen County, NJ may be able to help.

What Can I Include in a Cohabitation Agreement?

For a cohabitating couple, such an agreement should cover current responsibilities and what may happen in the event of a breakup. When you are unmarried, no court will settle matters like child custody or property distribution for you. It’s a good idea to address it with your cohabitation agreement.

Important elements to have in your contract can include:

  • Each partner’s share of the rent, utilities, and other housing expenses
  • How groceries and other living expenses are split
  • What properties are considered separate and which are shared
  • Pet and child custody agreements that will go into effect after a relationship’s end
  • What will happen if one of you passes away
  • Whether child support or alimony, sometimes called “palimony” in cases like these, will be paid if the relationship ends
  • Who will pay child support or alimony and who will receive it

The more you include, the less confusion there can be about your responsibilities and rights.

Do I Need Witnesses When I Sign This Agreement?

You can have witnesses to your agreement. This can certainly make it seem more official. We would recommend having witnesses who would have zero stake in your agreement. For example, if you and your partner live with another person, they may not be the ideal witness. This housemate or roommate may want their own cohabitation agreement with the two of you written up!

Doing things the official way can be beneficial. If you do have a disagreement later, having a contract with witnesses that has been notarized and filed away can be beneficial.

Can a Lawyer Help Me Draft a Cohabitation Agreement?

Your lawyer can help you draft an agreement. You may be able to find templates online and they are a good place to start, but if you really want to make sure that your cohabitation agreement is complete, having a lawyer help you with it is a good idea.

Your lawyer can make sure that your contract is customized to meet your needs and that nothing gets overlooked. This can make it easier to avoid conflicts and financial headaches later on.

Meet With Our Family Lawyers

If you’re thinking about making a cohabitation agreement on your own, ask our lawyers about it first. Contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark to schedule a consultation. We can tell you more about these contracts and how you can make one that protects your interests.

Read Our Latest Blog Posts

  •  How Do I Protect My 401(k) In a Divorce?
  •  Does Child Support Cover School Lunches?
  •  What Should My Prenuptial Agreement Cover?