Casual Relationship Contracts

contract, Rolling Meadows family law attorneyIf you are planning to get married in the near future, you may have given some thought to a prenuptial agreement. For those with complicated finances or business interests, a prenuptial agreement can be used to help avoid problems down the road. But what about your relationship itself? Is there anything you can do to designate who will have what responsibilities during your marriage? As it turns out, there just might be a type of non-binding contract worth your consideration.

A New Type of Marriage Contract

The New York Times recently ran an article entitled “To Stay in Love, Sign on the Dotted Line” which has created a great deal of interest in various circles. The author explains that she and her boyfriend use a relationship contract to keep track of their mutual goals and aspirations as well as to spell out rules for their relationship. The two live together so the contract specifies everything from who will do what chores and when to a dog-walking schedule to financial guidelines. For example, the contract provides that when the couple goes out to dinner the bill will be split but leaves exceptions for special events or if one person wants to treat the other.  The author admits that this idea may seem businesslike, but that is it deeply important to her and her partner. “Writing a relationship contract may sound calculating or unromantic,” she writes, “but every relationship is contractual; we’re just making the terms more explicit. It reminds us that love isn’t something that happens to us — it’s something we’re making together.”

Casual Relationship Contracts Are Not Legally Binding

Relationship contracts should not be confused with legal contracts. You and your significant other may choose to write out your goals and expectations together as a catalyst for a productive discussion, but understand that this type of contract will not hold up in court. If you have children together, own property, have a significant difference in income, or own a business, most experts agree that it is in both parties interest to sign a legal document regarding what will happen if the relationship dissolves.

Unmarried couples who do not plan to marry can create a cohabitation agreement with the help of an attorney. Cohabitation agreements are becoming more and more common because couples are sharing their lives without actually marrying.

Couples who plan to marry can create a prenuptial agreement. This agreement, which some call a “prenup” for short, will protect the assets of both individuals in the event the marriage ends. Prenuptial agreements can be used to differentiate separate and marital property, protect one spouse from the other’s debts, and outline property distribution upon divorce. A prenuptial agreement cannot be used to make decisions about child support and or custody of children. It also does not include personal relationship rules or agreements like a relationship contract. For example, a prenuptial agreement will not generally include guidelines regarding housework, how children will be raised, sex, or relationships with relatives.

Seek Legal Guidance

If you have questions about cohabitation agreements, prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, or any other relationship-related contracts, contact an experienced Rolling Meadows family law attorney. Call 847-253-3100 for a free, confidential consultation at Cosley Law Office today.

 

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/moneybuilder/2012/03/30/prenuptial-agreements-for-cohabitants/

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/23/style/modern-love-to-stay-in-love-sign-on-the-dotted-line-36-questions.html

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