The Costs of “Shacking Up”

I am constantly talking about prenups and as the PreNup Princess I should be, but what about those who are not interested in marriage? No worries, I got you covered as well.

Relationships are not what they used to be and that is not a bad thing. The numbers are showing that marriage rates are declining. Many couples are choosing to “shack up” as your great grandmother used to call it and they are perfectly happy doing so. But shacking up can have its costs.

If your relationship comes to an end what happens with all the “stuff” you bought together, for your life together? Who gets the couch and who takes the bedroom set? What about the joint account you opened together? Who will continue to pay the mortgage and live in the house?

With couples intertwining their lives together more and more a cohabitation agreement may just be the way to go. A cohabitation agreement lays out the rules, expectations, and property of people or couples living together. It’s like a prenup for the never or not yet to marry crowd. You can lay out what each person is brining into the relationship, who pays for what, who gets what in case of a breakup, and since more unmarried couples are buying homes together you can set out terms regarding the home, you should also have some sort of property agreement.

Why do you need this you may ask? Well as I mentioned above couples are pouring thousands of dollars into relationships and if they break up there is not always a clear answer on who gets what. Many think there are common law marriage laws that can help but in Washington there is no such thing. There is not an automatic presumption of marriage and not a guarantee that what you put in you will get out. Having something in place that you both have thought about and agree on can save you time, money, and stress.

Without an agreement you could lose property, assets, or money you invested in the relationship. It can be costly and trying to fight it out in court can be costlier and it may not end in the way you hoped. Talk to your S/O about a cohabitation agreement today.


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