Did you make sure to write your name on the flyleaf of all your books? (Kaptain Kobold, flickr)
For those who agree to share their apartments, if not their entire lives together, a legal document may help smooth out the details in the event of romantic derailment.
With more and more Americans—New Yorkers especially—eschewing marriage in favor of less-formal arrangements, a cohabitation agreement has become a must-have, Crain’s reports.
The agreements draw up conditions for couples who fear not only the consequences of a failed marriage, but are also leery about what a break-up might do to their living situation. You might not be able to escape the messy entanglements of the heart that remain after a long-term relationship ends, but at least you can protect yourself from losing your apartment, or your pets.
“It’s like a prenup without being married,” Jenine Cohen told Crain’s. “I have my own career and assets, and I think it’s superimportant that each of us protect ourselves in case this doesn’t work out.”
The only difference is that unlike a marriage, where the co-mingling of assets comes with the territory, cohabitators stand to lose a lot less in a break-up, because they are legally separate people who own separate things, unless they chose to buy things together. But that’s not separate enough for some people!
“It sounds cold, but just like jumping into a cold pool, if you get this out of the way, things get better from there,” Ann-Margaret Carrozza, an attorney who specializes in estate planning and elder law, told Crain’s. Because love is like jumping into a cold pool.
And the agreements can go much farther than determining who gets the couch and the house keys. They can also take care of all the pesky disagreements that crop up in relationships—like who gets to pick the vacation destinations and how often you have sex. And who would want to go to the trouble of working out such problems, when a legally-binding agreement can do it for you?
Believe it or not, some people actually find the move more romantic than a pre-nup.
“The [cohab] agreement frees people to express themselves romantically but individually, as opposed to the artificial social construction of this marriage ritual,” Gregg Sullivan, a 53-year-old avowed bachelor told Crain’s. “It’s a more evolved romance.”
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