One of the reasons couples choose to forgo marriage is because they want to retain their autonomy. But the problem is, if you are not careful, you may find that over time you become far more tied to your partner than you had planned. This is all well and good if the two of you are getting along. But what happens if things don't work out and your financial entanglements prevent you from making a clean break?
Well, the best way to prevent such problems is to set some financial ground rules from the outset of your cohabitation. Here are some things that can help you retain your financial independence regardless of how long you stay with your partner:
- Do not put your money into joint accounts. You could end up accruing joint debts that in all rights belong to your partner.
- If you make a major purchase on which both you and your partner are making payments, be sure to get your name on the deed or title. If the purchase is only under your partner's name, it is much more difficult to assert your ownership rights.
- Try to avoid becoming financially dependent on your partner by leaving the workforce and allowing him or her to pay your way. If you do opt to leave your job, keep your work skills sharp and at the ready should the relationship end and you need to resume working.
These are only a few of the things you can do to protect your interests when you move in with another person. But perhaps the best way to make sure safeguard your finances is to have an experienced family law attorney help you draft a cohabitation agreement. The agreement can contain terms that clearly state your rights and responsibilities in the relationship and can make a parting of the ways much easier to expedite.