Writing up a cohabitation contract will help identify specific practical guidelines for cohabiting couples. These guidelines should be gone through as early on as possible so that everything is clear and less painful if the relationship breaks down. The agreement is completely subjective depending on the personal situation of the partners, no cohabitation contract will be the same. When drafting a cohabitation contract it is wise to think about some specific factors to include within the document. Look at the purpose of the agreement you and your partner are entering into, such as if you want the agreement to be legally binding or merely a statement of expectations? It is worth considering the length of time the agreement will cover and arrangements for any children you may have, such as arrangements for maintenance if in the event of a separation.
You should also think about how you will treat property that is owned by one of the partners and will the property acquired during cohabitation be shared equally or in proportions to what is set out in the cohabitation contract. You should focus on how you will deal with debts that you may have at the beginning of the cohabitation relationship and consider whether it is necessary to make a statement of what each currently owes. It would also be an idea to look into the topics of inheritance and Wills; such as, anything would you leave to each other, if you do not make a Will including then neither will be entitled to anything. The next and almost the most important provision you should include in the cohabitation contract is how you will resolve any disagreements. This could be through the use of a professional conciliator or even mediation may be the right way to go about resolving any differences.
If the relationship breaks down and there is no way of sorting the dispute out in a friendly way, and you find that the dispute is over how to work things out, referring to the cohabitation agreement is the best course of action and setting it as a binding precedence would then be a way of avoiding any ambiguous or vague oral agreements as such. It is a contract is a way and therefore it is important that it meets all the legal requirements for a valid contract.
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