Cohabitation Agreements for Multi-Party Families
Deciding to live with a partner is one of the most significant decisions you will make - financially and otherwise.
Living with more than one partner is even more complex, because the laws governing families assume that there are only two people in a cohabiting couple. So where there are more than two people, it is essential that you all understand and agree about how your household will operate and what would happen if one or more of you leaves, or if you want to add an additional person to the household, or if any of you has a child or children.
If you write a cohabitation agreement, you and your partners can decide how you will operate your finances during your relationship, and, if you break up, how your property will be divided, whether any of you can claim 'spousal support' from the other(s), and how you will care for any children, while you are together or after you separate.
People say: but it is so unromantic to talk about what would happen if we break up! To which I say: the fact that you buy fire insurance does not mean you are planning to have a fire. If you are unable to talk about money now, while all of you are happy and in love, there is no chance you will be able to talk about it if you are in the middle of an angry breakup.
Talking about and deciding together what you want to happen makes it very unlikely that you will end up in a bitter and expensive fight if your relationship ends.
If you do not have a cohabitation agreement, the law will decide for you what happens if you break up. Unfortunately it is almost impossible to predict with certainty what a judge will decide in a multi-partner situation, and parties may have to go to court to find out who gets what. That is an EXTREMELY expensive proposition.
Process for a cohabitation agreement
We will send you a questionnaire, designed to help you and your poly partners identify and talk about the issues that your agreement will address. You can all discuss those questions, and identify any issues you need more information about.
There are two possibilities from there: either we have all of you, together, as clients, and draft an agreement on your collective instructions. Or we have one of you as a client.
The goal is to minimize the cost of the legal work. We will talk to you about which way is likely to be most economical.
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