Understanding the basics of a cohabitation agreement is useful for couples who may have made the decision to live with one another but not to marry. Couples who have decided to live together should learn how they can protect themselves and their interests with a cohabitation agreement. Cohabiting couples have similar concerns and interests as married couples and those entering a marriage.

Much like any contract related to marriage, such as a marriage contract itself or premarital agreement, a cohabitation agreement can set forth the rights, responsibilities and obligations of the partners. A cohabitation agreement can outline how money, debts, property and other concerns and considerations will be handled if the relationship between the partners comes to an end.

A cohabitation agreement can be helpful to protect the interests of the partners when they are in a long-term relationship. During a long-term relationship, the couple is likely to accumulate money, property, assets and debts and a cohabitation agreement can include how the couple’s money, property, assets and debts should be handled if they decide to end their relationship at some point. Cohabitation agreements can address property, assets and other concerns the couple may have.

Rules and requirements for cohabitation agreements and how they work can vary by state so partners considering a cohabitation agreement in California should be familiar with cohabitation agreements in their state. The potential benefits of a cohabitation agreement are valuable enough that long-term partners and cohabiting partners should take the time to understand them and what they can do for them.