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A contract helps you protect your finances while cohabiting

You and your boyfriend or girlfriend want to move in together. You've decided that you want to move forward in your relationship, but you don't want to get married yet. Living together is a good first step toward the life you want together, but only if you take steps to protect yourself.

Many couples avoid getting married completely, deciding to forgo the process and cohabitate instead. Without a marriage certificate, many don't think to talk about their finances, but that's a mistake.

Without getting married, you won't have the same protections as a married couple. That means that if your relationship ends, you may face a serious problem. You could have difficulties dividing your assets and determining what is yours or your partner's.

What should you do is create a contract. Even though it's not very romantic, it's important to talk about your finances and to think about your relationship as if it's a business. You want to know who pays what bill and where financial support comes from. You need to determine what happens if you decide to break up; who takes one which debts? How will you split your savings accounts or assets?

To keep things simple, do your best to keep your finances, debts and credit in your own name. Some couples have their own bank accounts but also a shared account for bills or vacations. Remember, if you open an account in both your names, then both of you will have a right to what's inside. If your partner decides to use all the money in the account, you won't have any legal options to get it back.

Source: Fox Business, "Financial Rules for Unmarried Couples Living Together," Andrea Murad, accessed March 22, 2018

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Brett K. Duncan & Co.
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Hammond, LA 70403

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