The Cohabitation Agreement: A Prenup For Dating Couples


Love is a many-splendored thing, but it can also blind you to the nitty-gritty money details that pop up when you’re dating. If you decide to cohabit with your sweetheart, there are legal steps you can take to protect yourself. Sure, it takes the romance out of things, but it might be a good idea for some cases.

Cohabitation contracts help immensely in situations like owning joint properties, or if your partner’s debt lands you in hot water with collectors, according to Linda Lea Viken, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. But you might not want to go through the hassle and the expense of legal fees if you’re dealing with minor finance issues, like splitting groceries or cable bills. What’s your take on this—do you think this is a good idea?

Getting married? Read on for more information on prenuptial agreements.

  • Kelley Long

    I think co-hab agreements for hetero couples are quite silly – if I have to protect myself against the person I am moving in with because I love him so much I can’t stand to be apart from him, then I would wonder if I should even be in the relationship. If we are so financially entwined that breaking up would require legal action, why shouldn’t we just get married?nnI can understand it from the point of owning joint property, I suppose. But for other purposes, I’m not really a fan. And when I asked a family law attorney friend of mine what she thought, she said that not only does she not recommend them but that she’s found they don’t hold a lot of water in court.nnHowever, for same-sex couples who don’t have the privilege to marry, a co-habitation agreement can serve similar purposes to a pre-nup (which I’m more a fan of due to marital asset laws, etc, especially for second marriages where kids are involved). So in that case, I advise any of my same-sex coupled clients to seek advice on getting a co-hab agreement.nnThanks for posting on a topic that’s getting a bit of press lately, but that I think might be a bit of a fad.