You may have seen my post last month about the 25 questions to discuss with your partner before getting married, but maybe you aren’t near the marriage station. Maybe you’re just thinking about moving in together (or already did). Although moving in doesn’t hold the same life-long commitment as marriage, there are still some questions you need to discuss with your partner about your new living situation.
I’ll warn you now: these questions aren’t particularly fun to talk about. But if you’re going to take the leap into cohabitation, you should be responsible about it. I know it’s hard to hear, but there is a chance the relationship won’t work out. You owe it to yourself to know what you’re getting into, more importantly, to make sure you’re protected.
Let these questions simply be a prompt. Feel free to go off topic and down any tangents that come up. The more you can openly communicate with one another, the better. Get everything out now so when you cross the threshold, it’s with open eyes and no doubts.
Grab your favorite potent potable and get to talking.
15 Questions to Discuss With Your Partner Before Living Together
- Where will you live together? In the current resident of one partner? Or will you get a new place together?
- Whose name will be on the lease or title? If only one person’s name is on the title, how, if at all, will the other earn equity?
- How will you pay for rent or the mortgage? Equally? Will you open a joint account to pay bills or pay out of your separate accounts? Or will the person whose name is on the lease or title pay the cost entirely?
- What will be your monthly expenses? How will you pay for them? Entirely together? Separately? Who will be in charge of paying the bills?
- What is your current debt situation? How much of your currently monthly income is used to pay down your debts? When do you expect to have your debt paid off? Do you plan on incurring any debt together?
- What household items, if any, do you need to purchase? How will you pay for those? Together or separately?
- What is your process for doing chores? Do you take the trash out every night or wait until it’s full? How often do you clean? Do you have a schedule or do you wait to pick-up when guests are coming over? Who will be responsible for completing chores? Will you do it together or take turns?
- What does your bathroom look like right now? How does your partner feel about that?
- How will you handle meal planning? Who will do the grocery shopping? Who will cook? Who will clean-up afterward?
- How do you feel about having guests over? Is there a day or time that’s off limits? Do you have a weekly social ritual you just won’t break? Are you ok with unannounced visitors?
- If you and your partner are of different religious or spiritual beliefs, how do you feel about religious symbols being displayed in the home?
- What if one partner falls on difficult times and is unable to make a financial contribution to the monthly bills? Will the other partner help out? Will the help be considered a loan or a gift?
- If the relationship ends, will one person stay in the residence? How long will the other have to move out? Or will both of you move out and either break the lease or sell the home? How will you split the items purchased together for the home?
- If you decide to get a pet together, how will you handle possession of the pet if the relationship ends? Will one person have exclusive possession or will you split it? How will you handle vet bills and pet care costs?
- What if one of you dies? Would the other partner be able to carry the monthly expenses until he or she can change living situations?
Depending on the answers to these questions, there are situations that could leave one partner in a more advantageous position over the other. Luckily there is an easy way to protect both partners should things not go as planned. You can agree to and sign a cohabitation agreement, which would cover things like how money, property, and debt will be handled, both during and after the relationship. It’s best not to leave any of these questions unanswered. Instead, come to an agreement and put it down on paper.
If you’d like to discuss how to protect yourself when living with someone else, schedule a free consultation today. I’m happy to talk about your rights and how best to protect yourself.
Already moved in? These questions are still important to discuss, so don’t use the timeframe as an excuse. You also can – and should – still protect yourself with a cohabitation agreement. Don’t put it off otherwise it will become too late. Schedule your consultation today.
You can also learn more about why cohabitation agreements are so important for couples living together who aren’t married.
This website includes information about legal issues and legal developments. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You should contact an attorney for advice on specific legal problems.
Lauren Lester is an affordable family law, estate planning, and probate lawyer licensed in Colorado.