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Create Your Own Cohabitation Agreement

Get the book – and begin your journey to commitment

Create Your Own Cohabitation Agreement - UK Edition, Cohab Monkey

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icon-flag-uk UK Edition

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icon-flag-ie IRL Edition

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Create Your Own Cohabitation Agreement - USA Edition, Cohab Monkey

icon-flag-usaUSA Edition

get it now
Create Your Own Cohabitation Agreement - UK Edition, Cohab Monkey

icon-flag-uk UK Edition

get it now
Create Your Own Cohabitation Agreement - Ireland Edition, Cohab Monkey

icon-flag-ie Ireland Edition

get it now

Finances, relationship expectations, children, decision-making in a medical emergency, personal and shared property, wealth planning, personality compatibility, wills, conflict resolution, openly and honestly sharing values and circumstances, working with legal and financial professionals – and building a life together that’s fair to each of you and awesome for both of you.

1

Where you’re coming from,
where you’re going

Taking the first steps on your journey to legal commitment

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Start your Cohabitation Agreement by:

  • Recording the beginnings and blossoming of your relationship
  • Expressing your shared vision of your future lives together
  • Setting a date for a public ceremony to celebrate your exchange of commitments.

Building a Cohabitation Agreement means you need to work with each other to reach a fair, mutually acceptable ‘deal’.

Can there be a more revealing way of really getting to know someone as a person? Are they capable of give-and-take?

Of thinking in terms of ‘we’ rather than just ‘me’ ?

2

What to leave in,
What to leave out

Deciding what’s going into your Cohabitation Agreement

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As you create your Cohabitation Agreement with your partner, there may be for each of you a long list of subjects too important to leave out.

Or perhaps you’re both happy with a skinnier document that covers just the basics?

The choice is yours.

The Scope section contains two lists:

  • Your list of commitments: The promises you make to each other, promises you both intend to be legally binding.
  • Your list of disclosures: All the information you have chosen to share with each other on your journey to making a legal commitment.

3

Awesome for both of you,
fair to each of you

Creating a legally solid foundation for your relationship

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You and your partner are creating a Cohabitation Agreement because you want to put your relationship on a legal footing that is fair to each of you and great for both of you.

In practical terms, this means your Cohabitation Agreement must comply with what are called ‘the general rules of contract’.

A legally solid Cohabitation Agreement requires that both partners fully understand what they are agreeing to, and that each has had separate and independent legal advice.

It is also important that both partners are consenting to the Agreement voluntarily, without duress or any other pressure.

4

With your hearts and
eyes wide open

Getting to know each other – inside and out

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The MBTI® personality assessment can help you discover and share why you are who you are. And the Couple Checkup® can provide you with an in-depth look at your relationship expectations.

And whatever your financial plans for the future, you need to share your current financial circumstances with each other.

In law, the word disclosure means telling the ‘whole truth’ about any subject or topic relating a contract.

An open and honest sharing of values, expectations and circumstances helps ensure both partners are entering into their Cohabitation Agreement with the hearts and eyes wide open.

5

Promises to make,
promises to keep

We’re in love, who needs a contract?

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A contract is a legally enforceable exchange of promises. Both civil marriage and a Cohabitation Agreement are contracts.

With a Cohabitation Agreement, however, you and your partner – rather than politician law-makers – decide what promises you exchange with one another.

You may or may not decide to celebrate the signing of your Cohabitation Agreement with a ceremony in front of family and friends.

But remember that commitments of any kind are greatly strengthened when declared in public.

6

A home for
your love

Deciding the legal ownership of the home you share together

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Buying and owning a home together is usually a priority for every couple.

In your Cohabitation Agreement, you and your partner can decide whether you wish to own your home as tenants-in-common or as joint tenants. Cohabiting couples typically opt for tenancy-in-common.

Couples can agree to own separate shares in their home in proportion to their financial contribution towards its purchase.

Over time a couple may wish to equalise their shares to recognise additional contributions by either partner, or simply to reflect the length of time their relationship has endured.

7

Financing
your future

Managing money and achieving financial freedom

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Imagine yourselves as a couple two decades from now. Where do you expect to be financially?

What comforts do you want for yourself and your family? What do you truly seek – and how will you reach for it? Money is not an end in itself, but a means to an end. And while it may ‘grow’ you, if you’re smart, it’ll also grow ‘for’ you.

Sample clauses to help you:

  • Clarify how you want to handle personal and shared property
  • Assign responsibility for financial decision-making in the event of illness
  • Create a wealth plan that reflects your shared goals.

8

From partners
to parents

Parenting together the children you create together

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When a committed relationship also means children, both partners will want to safeguard their children’s futures in their Cohabitation Agreement.

The sample clauses are intended as a starting point for parents and parents-to-be who want to care together for the children they create together.

Some sample parenting intentions:

  • Equal status of both parents as nurturers and providers
  • Joint registration of child’s birth certificate, joint guardianship and joint custody
  • Recognition of role of extended family

9

Staying the course
– sustainability

‘To love well is to argue well’ – Sam Keen

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Sustainability isn’t just for forests or energy sources. It can also be applied to relationships.

A sustainable relationship is one that has built-in incentives for the relationship to grow and thrive, for helping you and your partner achieve your shared goals.

Sample clauses to help you manage the conflicts that can arise in even the most loving relationships:

  • Use some tried-and-tested ways of moving from conflict to agreement.
  • Use step-by-step, tiered resolution levels – including counselling and arbitration – to deal with disputes.

10

When the end comes
– dissolution

Security and peace of mind for when the end comes

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Think of a Cohabitation Agreement as providing two parachutes: one for each of you to break the fall should the relationship crash.

Whether your Cohabitation Agreement ends with a funeral or a break-up, our sample clauses will help minimise the practical and legal issues.

Your Cohabitation Agreement will also terminate if you enter a civil marriage or civil partnership with one another (or anyone else).

Civil marriages and civil partnerships (based on family law) are incompatible with couple-created Cohabitation Agreements (based on contract law).

11

The usual stuff in every
contract in your contract

What every well-crafted and well-drafted contract needs

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Legal contracts such as Cohabitation Agreements typically include a number of what lawyers call ‘standard clauses’.

There are solid, time-tested reasons why you will generally find such clauses between the covers of a well-drafted and well-crafted contract.

Standard clauses cover such topics as entire agreement, severability, assignment and Force Majeure.

As painlessly as possible we explain what each means, and why you need to know about them.

12

The proof is in the
paperwork – exhibits

Documents that support your disclosures and commitments

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Exhibits are documents that support the various disclosures and commitments contained in the Cohabitation Agreement. Exhibits are grouped into sets, and each set of exhibits is denoted by a letter.

Couples may wish to publish all or part of their Cohabitation Agreement, but not the Exhibits because they will contain personal information on finances, health and other private topics.

Typical sets of exhibits:

  • Exhibit Set A: Declarations of Identity
  • Exhibit Set B: Certificates of Legal Counsel
  • Exhibit Set C: MBTI® and Couple Checkup® reports, financial disclosures
  • Exhibit Set D: Powers of Attorney, various property and financial commitments

A lawyer is the last person you need

But you will need one – eventually and finally

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Lawyers don’t create Cohabitation Agreements. Couples create Cohabitation Agreements. Only you can know what you want from your life and your relationship. Only you know what you are willing to give– and what you expect in return.

Your partner can’t hear what you don’t say. It’s difficult for a partner to live up to expectations or ‘ground rules’ they don’t know about!

It’s generally a good idea to get legal advice – called advice of counsel – before signing your name to a legal contract.

With a Cohabitation Agreement, it’s important that you and your partner each receive independent legal advice regarding the rights and responsibilities created and exchanged in your Cohabitation Agreement.

Create Your Own Cohabitation Agreement

Get the book – and begin your journey to commitment

Create Your Own Cohabitation Agreement - UK Edition, Cohab Monkey

icon-flag-usa USA Edition

get it now

icon-flag-uk UK Edition

get it now

icon-flag-ie IRL Edition

get it now
Create Your Own Cohabitation Agreement - USA Edition, Cohab Monkey

icon-flag-usaUSA Edition

get it now
Create Your Own Cohabitation Agreement - UK Edition, Cohab Monkey

icon-flag-uk UK Edition

get it now
Create Your Own Cohabitation Agreement - Ireland Edition, Cohab Monkey

icon-flag-ie Ireland Edition

get it now

Finances, relationship expectations, children, decision-making in a medical emergency, personal and shared property, wealth planning, personality compatibility, wills, conflict resolution, openly and honestly sharing values and circumstances, working with legal and financial professionals – and building a life together that’s fair to each of you and awesome for both of you.