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Old 08-22-2005, 04:44 PM   #1
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In Depth Question Re Cohabitation Agreements

I'm wondering about Cohabitation Agreements/Living Together Agreements/Domestic Partnership Agreements. Wondering if my partner and I should have one. Wondering what would be in it. If you are in a long-term, committed monogamous relationship, would you mind sharing? I'd appreciate it.

Do you own a home together? If so, which of you claims the interest/taxes at tax time? How did you come to that decision?

Do you both work?

Are your incomes about the same or is there a significant disparity? If there is a disparity, how does that play out in terms of spending and saving?

Do you pool your money? Keep separate accounts?

Does one person have more of a say-so in how money is spent or not? How did that person get that role?

How do you pay the bills? Is it 50/50, a percentage, or something else?

How do you decide who pays for groceries, household items, wedding gifts, birthday gifts for friends and extended family, going out for dinner, etc?

Do you have an Agreement or something similar that covers all of this?

Thanks a lot -- your thoughts really are appreciated.

 
Old 08-22-2005, 06:41 PM   #2
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Re: In Depth Question Re Cohabitation Agreements

Hey curious one! I am about to move in with my boyfriend and I have a lot of the same questions you have. I've never lived with a boyfriend before, so this is a huge deal for me. We've discussed marriage and everything, and we know it's going to happen, so living together makes sense for both of us right now. Here's how I plan on handling some of the things you asked about:

He owns the condo. He pays the mortgage. I am going to contribute towards the mortgage so that we can build equity together and eventually when we buy a home both our names will be put on it. We haven't discussed exactly how much I'm going to pay towards the mortgage, but I'm pretty sure it's all up to me.

I would like to maintain seperate accounts. We aren't married yet. No joint accounts. Our finances are our own.

I think it's going to be a pretty equal partnership. He makes more than me, but he's also going to pay the majority of the bills. As far as spending goes, we each have our own money so neither of us will tell the other one what they can/can't spend their money on.

I was thinking maybe we would start some kind of joint savings together in the future, but I'd like to wait a bit on that and just keep things entirely seperate for now.

Like I said, I've never done this before. So I don't know if our plan is good or bad. I'd like to hear from others who have lived with a significant other. What has worked? What hasn't worked?

 
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Old 08-22-2005, 07:21 PM   #3
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Re: In Depth Question Re Cohabitation Agreements

If there are issues like this and you can be married I would say to just go ahead and get married.
In a same sex relationship I would see a lawyer so that each person would be protected.
Ruth

 
Old 08-22-2005, 07:35 PM   #4
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Re: In Depth Question Re Cohabitation Agreements

My experience was short. I only lived with a guy two months. He moved into my home. He didn't make a lot of money, but it was more than me. He gave me half of his paycheck every week toward mortgage, utilities and food (he ate a lot). The rest he used for gas, his own car insurance and whatever he wanted.

I really barely knew him when he moved in (yes, dumb, I know). He claimed to have no bank accounts. I was going to add him to my checking account. Fortunately, the bank wouldn't let him. They discovered he had a number of bad checks from a previous account. Of course, he said his previous girlfriend was responsible for that. Anyway, that relationship was short lived and thankfully he didn't do anything to ruin my credit or rip me off.

 
Old 08-22-2005, 07:53 PM   #5
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Re: In Depth Question Re Cohabitation Agreements

My boyfriend and I put all our money in one account. I do the budgeting and we have both agreed to pay all of our bills and household expenses, put aside a certain amount to savings(for a house) and then whatever is left we split 50/50. He buys what he wants with his money, I buy what I want with my money. As far as who pays for going out to dinner, I made a rule that we have to both take the other out on a date at least once a month He loved that idea, kinda keeps things fresh. As far as birthday gifts, I buy for my family and friends, he buys for his.

 
Old 08-23-2005, 04:58 AM   #6
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Re: In Depth Question Re Cohabitation Agreements

Hi! i've been living with my boyfriend for a little over a year now. We are finding it hard financially but we are getting thru it! Just to explain how we do things: when we started looking for a place , i was fresh out of uni and looking for an apprentiship, we found somewhere and as i had no job, we put the house in his name altho, we both have life cover over the property and i am named on all household ins docs. However, i got a job a month after we moved in - i pay half my salary towards the house, ( my BF earns more than double what i earn at the mo but that will change in about a year when i qualify) so once i paid my half share in my BF pretty muchtakes care of evrything else - when we actaully sat down it turns out he only pays 200 more than me into house, which isnt bad considering his salary is double mine! anyway, he takes care of nites out, groceries and anything else - if i want to go out withmy friends he covers that too. Its diffcult not cos i feel like right now am dependent on him but it wont be for that long now and we are at the moment getting the house put into joint names but we did consider a agreement but if house in both names it doesnt matter. trying to juggle things financially will always be a strain particularly if one earns more than the other - i hate asking my bf for money but he understands and as he says its as much mines as it is his!

Anyway, dunno if this helps but thats how we do it - its hard at times and we do fight about money esp when i feel like he can pretty much do what he wants but i have to ask first but it wont be that way forever!

 
Old 08-23-2005, 01:24 PM   #7
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Re: In Depth Question Re Cohabitation Agreements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Painyoufeel
My boyfriend and I put all our money in one account. I do the budgeting and we have both agreed to pay all of our bills and household expenses, put aside a certain amount to savings(for a house) and then whatever is left we split 50/50. He buys what he wants with his money, I buy what I want with my money. As far as who pays for going out to dinner, I made a rule that we have to both take the other out on a date at least once a month He loved that idea, kinda keeps things fresh. As far as birthday gifts, I buy for my family and friends, he buys for his.
That sounds fair and fairly simple. What about when you have say 15 close family members/friends and he has only 5?

What about medical/dental bills?

Just throwing more stuff out there to get an idea. We have a meeting about this tonight and I'm kinda nervous.

I realize, through my own feelings and through what I've read recently, that the issue is not really MONEY, as much as it is POWER and CONTROL -- especially with the disparity in incomes.

I appreciate the responses and would love to hear more.

 
Old 08-23-2005, 01:29 PM   #8
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Re: In Depth Question Re Cohabitation Agreements

Quote:
Originally Posted by lola11
care of evrything else - when we actaully sat down it turns out he only pays 200 more than me into house, which isnt bad considering his salary is double mine! anyway, he takes care of nites out, groceries and

Anyway, dunno if this helps but thats how we do it - its hard at times and we do fight about money esp when i feel like he can pretty much do what he wants but i have to ask first but it wont be that way forever!
How do you feel about the income disparity? Does it make you feel power-less? Not without power, but just less than he has? Do you ever feel resentful that he has so much more play/savings/retirement funds than you do?

As most of us know, the #1 thing couples fight about is money. I don't know why I want to be one of the lucky ones that doesn't have that issue. But, it's definitely here -- not fights, per se, but feelings and resentments on both sides.

 
Old 08-23-2005, 03:18 PM   #9
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Re: In Depth Question Re Cohabitation Agreements

Hello I'm glad this topic came up. I own the home and my boyfriend moved in here. I work and get child support. He works too (and pays child support). He gives me money each week, not half the mortgage though. Sometimes I feel like just because it's my house, i'm responsible for most of the bills. Well, I suppose I am but if he's living here, I wish he felt more responsible towards the bills, not like "if he wasn't here I'd have to pay them anyway". He pays for most of the stuff on the weekend like eating and going out. So it seems like it's working out, except I wish things were more 50/50 about bills. I'd like to hear from other people in the same situation on how you work it out. Thanks
!

 
Old 08-23-2005, 05:01 PM   #10
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Re: In Depth Question Re Cohabitation Agreements

I am 26 and my boyfriend is 24. We've been together for 5.5 years, living together for over 2. To give you a bit of our background, he is finishing graduate school this month. I make over three times what he does, though that will balance out when he gets a job over the next few months. We have absolutely LOVED living together, and are starting to discuss a wedding for next year or the year after next. This was something we agreed upon from the start, and I highly suggest talking about marriage NOW so that you are on the same page when you move in together! Same with buying a house...we decided we were going to rent until marriage, and we are sticking to that. We're moving into a new, fantastic apartment next month and plan to stay there until we get married and, at that point, will buy our first house or condo.

I feel that a healthy relationship will solve all of the issues you raised without needing any sort of written agreement. We have never had a problem, and take turns covering each other on various expenses. Even though I make quite a bit more, he covers almost half the rent (I pay a bit more because I get the carport). We split all of our bills right down the middle, and add or subtract from the rent, depending on who is writing the check that month. I was responsible for getting our utilities hooked up, so I write that check because it's in my name. Our phone and internet plans are in his name so he writes the check, but we each pay half. When we go out to eat, we usually go back and forth covering it with our cards....we always say "take it out of the rent" but unless it's a big expense we usually just call it even.

As for presents for family members, we are each responsible for buying for our own families, and the other person contributes as much as they want. For example, he bought his sister an i-pod mini for her high school graduation. I paid around %40, which is what I would have spent anyway.

I know many couples fight about money, but I truly believe that if you have a healthy OPEN relationship, these are issues you can work through. If issues arise, don't fume over them....get them out in the open before you get bitter and touchy. It's also a matter of being with someone who handles money the same way you do. Both of us are big on paying off credit cards ON TIME, paying bills when you are supposed to, and enjoying nice things without going overboard. Sometimes he had a hard time when I would buy something nice that he couldn't afford, but the closer he gets to having a job the more he realized that his turn is coming! If you are open about your concerns, expectations, and issues, you will be more likely to avoid problems in the future.

I suggest doing your best to keep things half and half, unless he offers to cover a bit more since he makes more. Then agree on a number, like 60/40. I would also keep separate accounts for now, though we are quickly learning that we might as well have the same account since what's mine is generally his. We are looking forward to sharing an account in the future!

Hope that helps a bit...anything I left out? I'm sure different couples do this in different ways.

 
Old 08-24-2005, 04:17 AM   #11
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Re: In Depth Question Re Cohabitation Agreements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curious One
That sounds fair and fairly simple. What about when you have say 15 close family members/friends and he has only 5?
Well, I have never expected him to help me pay for gifts for my family, but he has, he is great to my brother and sister, and he wants to buy them gifts. I have also bought things for his son.


Quote:
What about medical/dental bills?
I would include any medical/dental bills in our expenses. I try to be fair, I pretty much want us to have the same amount of spending money every month. We have been living together for about 3 years now and I dont really remember a time we have fought over money. We do make about the same amount of money, but honestly if I started making more I would not change anything. I know that he wouldnt either. Of course, there are no guarantees in life, I think we will aways be together, but there is a chance that we could break up. Even knowing that, I would not do anything differently, we have a partnership. He actually buys me a lot of gifts on a regular basis anyways. He used to buy me roses all the time, but our crazy cat tries to eat them for some reason :

Im sure everyone does things differently, but thats what works for us. I guess i am lucky in the fact that he doesnt mind that I control the money. He had a bankruptcy in the past, so he knows he is not very good with money, so he pretty much just signs his checks and gives them to me. When it comes to money he doesnt want control

 
Old 08-24-2005, 12:25 PM   #12
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Re: In Depth Question Re Cohabitation Agreements

This one is really interesting! I've lived with a couple of boyfriends in the past and never gave it very much thought. In both cases, we both just split all expenses. The one exception I've always had in splitting costs with a boyfriend, whether it's living together or going out or going on vacation, is that if the person who makes more money wants to do something that's extra, like go someplace expensive or go on vacation more often, he or she should be prepared to cover a bit more of the bill. I've been on both sides of that equation and it's worked out fine.

Since I live in an extremely expensive city the issue of moving in with someone who owns their own place hasn't come up. I probably wouldn't do that unless we were getting married. Something about paying into a person's mortgage with the possibility that I won't have any rights to the shared investment later doesn't sit well with me. Of course at this point in my life I don't think I'd move in with someone unless I had some kind of real commitment to get married. I'm not against the idea of living together, but I really like my apartment and don't want to give anything up unless I know I'm moving on to live with someone I can plan years ahead with.

 
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