When you decide to live with someone, it is important to think about the issues that may come up if you decide to end your relationship. In the District of Columbia, when you live with someone, your relationship can become a common law marriage and you can be considered legally married, even if you do not intend to enter into a marriage. A Cohabitation Agreement can specifically state that you do not intend that your relationship be considered a marriage with all the rights that go along with a marriage, such as support, etc. In addition, you may own property separately or purchase property together with your partner and if you decide that your living situation is not working out, this can lead to disputes that can be difficult and costly to settle.
A Cohabitation Agreement or a Living Together Agreement is a contract that sets guidelines for how your property will be divided if you separate. It defines your rights as a couple. It can also expressly state that you have no intention of marrying or if you decide to marry that you will sign a Prenuptial Agreement or just void your Cohabitation Agreement. A Cohabitation Agreement can protect your separate property and income and can protect you from your partner’s debts.
A Cohabitation Agreement can also deal with the basics of how you will manage your household, for example, who will pay which bills, whether you will have a joint bank account, how much you will each contribute to monthly household expenses, etc.