Choosing to simply live together rather than getting married seems like the perfect solution for most couples nowadays. What happens when the relationship ends though? What if the couple is financially lopsided? How can you ensure your security if you are not supporting the relationship in a financial way and a break up happens?

 Listed below are two points a couple should consider when choosing to live together without getting married:

1)   Communicate expectations: In most states, no matter how long you have lived together, you and your partner are legally considered strangers when it comes to property rights. Therefore it is extremely important to discuss financial expectations, personal obligations and identify property rights in case the relationship comes to an end.

2)       Discuss Options: You may want to consider what options you both feel most comfortable with. An option that is becoming more popular today is COHABITATION AGREEMENTS, as well as wills.

These types of agreements can be beneficial if:

• You have significant assets or an anticipated inheritance.

• You own a business or property purchased before or during the cohabitation.

• There are children from a previous relationship.

• There is an income disparity.

• You or your partner has debts.

• One person is sacrificing economic power to raise children.

• To properly compensate a caregiver.

• To clarify personal expectations of the relationship.

• To clarify financial support during the relationship or upon its dissolution.

• To specify health insurance coverage.

• To determine the right to serve as a guardian in the event of incapacitation or to make medical decisions.

• You want clarification on a variety of issues such as how expenses are handled, infidelity, and separation and death provisions.

According to researchers, the break-up rate for couples in a cohabiting relationship is the same or even higher than the divorce rates. It is said that 40 % of cohabiting couples will break up within the first 5 years of living together. In that case it may be a good idea to contract, preferably with the assistance of an attorney, as to financial obligations and property division if the relationship were to come to an end.