Living Together Contract Lawyers
What is a Living Together Contract?
A living together contract is a simple agreement put together by non-married couples regarding the distribution of property, debts, and other remnants of the relationship at the end of a relationship. These contracts can also include general agreements about the rights and responsibilities of each party during and after the end of the relationship.
Who Can Use a Living Together Contract?
Anyone who lives with another person can use a living together contract. Originally, living together contracts were discouraged, particularly between same-sex couples (and even were illegal in some states that forbid sodomy), but currently almost all states recognize these contracts in some way, shape, or form.
What Are the Legal Guidelines Governing Living Together Contracts?
Legal rules regarding living together contracts are generally judge made rules, not legislatively made rules. In general, four rules apply to all living together contracts:
- Unmarried couples may make written contracts
- Unmarried couples may make oral contracts
- Courts may examine a couple's actions under a judicial microscope to decide whether an "implied" contract exists between the two parties
- When a judge can't find an implied contract, he may presume that "the parties intend to deal fairly with each other" and find one lover indebted to the other by invoking well-established legal doctrines of equity and fairness
I'm in a Same-Sex Relationship, Are There any Unusual Things I Should Look Out for in my Home State Regarding These Contracts?
A majority of states enforce contracts between gay and lesbian partners. Some states only enforce contracts between same-sex couples if the contract is written. A very few states prohibit contracts between unmarried couples (particularly same-sex couple) as fostering immorality.
What Should Be in a Living Together Contract?
In general, you should make the living together contract as detailed as possible, but not so detailed that your relationship feels more like a business contract than a relationship. These contracts are meant to simplify your life, not make them more complicated. In general, you will include the following in the contract:
- If you will mix assets, try to figure out a fair and equitable division of the assets at the end of the relationship
- Some people include the clauses regarding day-to-day living together responsibilities (sometimes part of a second separate agreement) - courts generally won't interfere or rule on these clauses though
- Some include general relationship aspects such as spousal treatment and behavior (sometimes also part of a second separate agreement) - courts generally won't interfere or rule on these clauses though
- Property and finance clauses
- Cooling off clauses
Should I Contract a Lawyer Regarding my Living Together Contract?
Although you shouldn't be adversarial in making up a living together contract, you should be careful when signing any contract. A good family or contract lawyer will know the ropes to creating a good contract, and help you formulate the best contract possible. Especially if you have any important assets, you don't want to be giving away something to your living partner that you didn't want to.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 08-11-2010 03:07 PM PDT
Did you find this article informative?