Living Together? Put it in Writing - All About Living Together Contracts

May 27, 2015


What Is a Living Together Contract?

A living together contract is a simple agreement put together by non-married couples regarding the distribution of property, debts, and other remnants of the relationship at the end of a relationship. These contracts can also include general agreements about the rights and responsibilities of each party during and after the end of the relationship.


Who Can Use a Living Together Contract?

Anyone who lives with another person can use a living together contract. Originally, living together contracts were discouraged, but currently almost all states recognize these contracts in some way, shape, or form. These types of contracts are particularly helpful in states that do not recognize same-sex marriage.


What Are the Legal Guidelines Governing Living Together Contracts?

Legal rules regarding living together contracts are generally judicially made.  In general, four principals will apply to living together contracts: 

  • Unmarried couples may make written contracts

  • Unmarried couples may make oral contracts

  • A couple's actions may be evaluated to decide whether an "implied" contract exists between the two parties

  • When a judge doesn't find an implied contract, it can be presumed that "the parties intend to deal fairly with each other," and find one lover indebted to the other by invoking well-established legal doctrines of equity and fairness

What Should Be in a Living Together Contract?

A living together contract should be as detailed as possible, but not so detailed that a relationship feels like a business. These contracts are meant to simplify the couple's life, not make them more complicated. In general, the contract should explain: 

  • A fair and equitable division of the assets at the end of the relationship

  • Day-to-day living together responsibilities

  • Spousal treatment and behavior

  • Property and finance clauses

  • Cooling-off clauses

Should I Contact a Lawyer?

Although you shouldn't be adversarial in making up a living together contract, you should be careful when signing any contract. A family lawyer or contract lawyer will know the ropes to creating a good contract, and help you formulate the best contract possible.  Especially if you have any important assets, you don't want to be giving away something to your living partner that you didn't want to.


Fanning Law, LLC Can Help

The facts of each case are unique and the laws surrounding marriage-like relationships are complicated.  This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. It is not legal advice. For more information about your specific questions, contact Bill Fanning at Fanning Law, LLC - The Offices of William C. Fanning, Jr. - 301.934.3620 or at  


Article provided by Legal Match.  Authored by Matthew Izzi, LegalMatch Legal Writer and Attorney at Law, Last Modified: 07-17-2014 03:42 PM PDT


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