This cohabitation agreement is between , an individual (""), and , an individual ("").

The parties intend to live in a nonmarital relationship and cohabitate in a common household.  They have lived together since .

The parties wish to enter into this agreement to provide for the status, ownership, and division of property between them, including future property owned or acquired by either or both of them.

The parties have no children together. The parties are the parents of , born in , ., and , born  in .  and , born in , .  and , born in , .

The parties have disclosed to each other the nature and extent of their assets, liabilities, and net worth as of the effective date described in section 1615151514141413 below (the "Effective Date").

The parties therefore agree as follows:


  • (a) Separate Property. All real or personal property owned by either party as of the Effective Date, except for jointly owned property listed in Schedule B, including any future income that property produces, will remain the separate property of its owner as listed in Schedule A1 and Schedule A2. This separate property cannot be transferred to the other party unless that transfer is effectuated in writing. Any property currently owned by either party that has been inadvertently omitted from Schedule A1 and Schedule A2 is and will remain the separate property of the party who owns it.
  • (b) Income. All earned income received by either party after the Effective Date and all property purchased with that income belongs in equal shares to the parties., except as follows: .All earned income received by either party after the Effective Date and all property and investments purchased with that income belongs absolutely to the party who earned that income, unless there is a written joint ownership agreement as provided in this agreement.
  • (c) Gifts. Any property acquired by one party as a gift of the other party or of any third party is the absolute property of the party receiving the gift, unless the property is explicitly documented as being owned by both parties.
  • (d) Inheritance. Any property acquired by one party through inheritance belongs absolutely to the party receiving that inheritance, unless the property is explicitly documented as being owned by both parties.
  • (e) Winnings. Any property acquired by one party as winnings from any sport, game, or lottery shall belong absolutely to the party receiving such winnings, unless the property is explicitly documented as being owned by both parties.
  • (f) Awards and Settlements. Any property received by one party as an award or settlement from a lawsuit shall be the absolute property of the party awarded or receiving by settlement such property, unless the property is explicitly documented as being owned by both parties.
  • (g) Insurance Proceeds. Any proceeds received by one party from an insurance policy shall remain the absolute property of the party receiving such proceeds, unless the property is explicitly documented as being owned by both parties.
  • (h) Shared Property. The property listed in Schedule B remains the property of both parties.
  • (i) Separation. If the parties separate, or on the death of either party, any jointly acquired or held property will be deemed to be owned equally with each party entitled to 50% of the net equity of the property, regardless of the initial or ongoing proportion of each party's investmentin accordance with the proportion of each party's investment.
  • (j) Household Expenses. Expenses for routine household items and services, including groceries, utilities, rent, and cleaning supplies, shall be shared equally.shared in proportion to each party's contribution to total household income.divided as follows: shall pay % of such expenses and  shall pay % of such expenses.
  • (k) Exchanges Between Parties. Nothing in this agreement prevents or invalidates any gift, or transfer for value, from one party to the other of present or future property. Gifts or transfers must be evidenced in writing signed by both parties.


  • (a) Separate Debts. All debts owed by either party as of the Effective Date of this agreement  with the exception of any jointly held debts as listed in Schedule C, are and will remain the sole responsibility of the party and the other party will have no financial obligations with respect to paying back the debts.
  • (b) Debts from Separate Property. Each party shall assume, and pay and hold the other party harmless from, all debts, liabilities, or claims arising out of his or her separate property as described in this agreement.
  • (c) Separation. If the parties separate, the parties shall be financially responsible for any jointly acquired or held debts in accordance with the initial or ongoing proportion of each party's borrowed amount.each party shall be financially responsible for 50% of any jointly acquired or jointly held debts, regardless of the initial or ongoing proportion of each party's borrowed amount.


  • (a) Names of Children. The parties hereby acknowledge that they are the biological parents of , born  in , ., and , born  in , .  and , born  in , .  and , born  in , .The parties further state that they have welcomed , and   and   and   into their home and that it is their intention and belief that , born  in , ., and , born  in , .  and , born  in , .  and , born  in , isare fully legitimate for all purposes, including the right to inherit from and through both parents.
  • (b) Obligation of Support. The parties further acknowledge their duty to properly raise and adequately support , born  in , ., and , born  in , .  and , born  in , .  and , born  in , and that in the event of a separation, any rights and obligations of the parties regarding child support, custody, and access will be governed by applicable federal laws and the laws of .
  • (c) Best Interests of the Children. The parties recognize the authority of the court to determine what arrangements are in the best interest of the children, and understand that court orders may affect the arrangement of the parties as stated in this agreement.

4. PETS.3. PETS.

If the parties separate,  shall retain ownership or guardianship of the following pets/companion animals:   and   and   and .If the parties separate, they will retain joint ownership or guardianship of the following pets/companion animals (collectively, the "Pets"):   and   and   and , according to the following schedule: . All expenses incurred for the care of the Pets shall be provided for as follows: .If the parties separate, the following pet ownership or guardianship arrangements will occur:

  • (a)  shall retain ownership or guardianship of   and   and ; and
  • (b)  shall retain ownership or guardianship of   and   and . ESTATES AND TESTAMENTARY DISPOSITION.

  • (a) No Restrictions on Disposition. Each party may dispose of his or her estate by will without leaving any portion to the other party, or to the heirs, executors, administrators, or assigns of the other party.
  • (b) Named Beneficiary. Nothing in this agreement invalidates or prevents either party from naming the other as a beneficiary by will or other testamentary disposition.
  • (c) Waiver of Inheritance Rights. Each party hereby releases the other party from all rights that each may acquire as spouse or surviving spouse in the property, assets, or estate of the other party.


The parties hereby agree to the following additional terms: . REPRESENTATIONS.

The parties each hereby represent:

  • (a) he or she is unmarried;
  • (b) neither has ever been married to the other party, and there is no marital or quasi-marital relationship, whether by statute, common law, or marriage to the other, between them;
  • (c) neither is under any duress or undue influence of the other party, and each is voluntarily entering into this agreement;
  • (d) each has had the opportunity to consult with an attorney before signing this agreement; and
  • (e) he or she has not entered into any separate understanding or agreement, whether express, implied in fact, or implied in law, relating to his or her respective property,residential, and contractual rights and obligations, and that all of those rights and obligations are set forth in this agreement. TERMINATION.

This agreement may be terminated:

  • (a) By either party on provision of days' written notice to the other party, with or without cause; or
  • (b) automatically, if there is a marriage of the parties or a domestic partnership registration subjecting the parties to the marriage laws of any state.

9.8.8**.** GOVERNING LAW.

  • (a) Choice of Law. The laws of the state of govern this agreement (without giving effect to its conflicts of law principles).
  • (b) Choice of Forum. Both parties consent to the personal jurisdiction of the state and federal courts in County, . AMENDMENTS.

No amendment to this agreement will be effective unless it is in writing and signed by a party. COUNTERPARTS; ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES.

  • (a) Counterparts. The parties may execute this agreement in any number of counterparts, each of which is an original but all of which constitute one and the same instrument.
  • (b) Electronic Signatures. This agreement, agreements ancillary to this agreement, and related documents entered into in connection with this agreement are signed when a party's signature is delivered by facsimile, email, or other electronic medium. These signatures must be treated in all respects as having the same force and effect as original signatures. SEVERABILITY.

Whenever possible, each provision of this agreement will be interpreted in a manner as to be effective and valid under applicable law, but if any provision of this agreement is held to be invalid, illegal, or unenforceable in any respect under any applicable law or rule in any jurisdiction, that invalidity, illegality, or unenforceability will not affect any other provision or any other jurisdiction, but this agreement will be reformed, construed, and enforced in such jurisdiction as if that invalid, illegal, or unenforceable provisions had never been contained in this agreement. WAIVER.

No waiver of a breach, failure of any condition, or any right or remedy contained in or granted by the provisions of this agreement will be effective unless it is in writing and signed by the party waiving the breach, failure, right, or remedy. No waiver of any breach, failure, right, or remedy will be deemed a waiver of any other breach, failure, right, or remedy, whether or not similar, and no waiver will constitute a continuing waiver, unless the writing so specifies. ENTIRE AGREEMENT.

This agreement constitutes the final agreement of the parties. It is the complete and exclusive expression of the parties' agreement about the subject matter of this agreement. All prior and contemporaneous communications, negotiations, and agreements between the parties relating to the subject matter of this agreement are expressly merged into and superseded by this agreement. The provisions of this agreement may not be explained, supplemented, or qualified by evidence of trade usage or a prior course of dealings. Neither party was induced to enter this agreement by, and neither party is relying on, any statement, representation, warranty, or agreement of the other party except those set forth expressly in this agreement. Except as set forth expressly in this agreement, there are no conditions precedent to this agreement's effectiveness. HEADINGS.

The descriptive headings of the sections and subsections of this agreement are for convenience only, and do not affect this agreement's construction or interpretation. EFFECTIVENESS.

This agreement will become effective when all parties have signed it. The date this agreement is signed by the last party to sign it (as indicated by the date associated with that party's signature) will be deemed the date of this agreement. NECESSARY ACTS; FURTHER ASSURANCES.

Each party shall use all reasonable efforts to take, or cause to be taken, all actions necessary or desirable to consummate and make effective the transactions this agreement contemplates or to evidence or carry out the intent and purposes of this agreement.


Each party is signing this agreement on the date stated opposite that party's signature.

Date: ________________________By: __________________________________________________
Date: ________________________By: __________________________________________________


Separate Property of  

All of  's separate property, including the following items, shall remain  's separate property, including any profits, dividends, or interest income inuring from that property. 

(a) .
(b) .
(c) .
(d) .
(e) .
(f) .
(g) .
(h) .
(i) .
(j) .
(k) .
(l) .
(m) .
(n) .
(o) .
(p) .
(q) .
(r) .
(s) .
(t) .


Separate Property of  

All of 's separate property, including the following items, shall remain 's separate property, including any profits, dividends, or interest income inuring from that property. 

(a) .
(b) .
(c) .
(d) .
(e) .
(f) .
(g) .
(h) .
(i) .
(j) .
(k) .
(l) .
(m) .
(n) .
(o) .
(p) .
(q) .
(r) .
(s) .
(t) .


Joint Property
None.(a) .
(b) .
(c) .
(d) .
(e) .
(f) .
(g) .
(h) .
(i) .
(j) .
(k) .
(l) .
(m) .
(n) .
(o) .
(p) .
(q) .
(r) .
(s) .
(t) .


Joint Debts


(a) .
(b) .
(c) .
(d) .
(e) .
(f) .
(g) .
(h) .
(i) .
(j) .
(k) .
(l) .
(m) .
(n) .
(o) .
(p) .
(q) .
(r) .
(s) .
(t) .


Free Cohabitation Agreement Template

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How-to guides, articles, and any other content appearing on this page are for informational purposes only, do not constitute legal advice, and are no substitute for the advice of an attorney

Cohabitation agreement: How-to guide

For some couples, moving in together is the next step in a long-term relationship. For couples who live together after they’re married, personal and property interests are protected automatically by law. However, if a couple is not married or cannot by law establish a union, their interests will not be protected automatically. In such cases, the parties may want to enter into a cohabitation agreement.

Lead your companionship peacefully with a cohabitation agreement

A cohabitation agreement is a contract between an unmarried couple who wants to live together. The agreement is designed to protect each person’s interests if the relationship ends. 

Here are the benefits of a cohabitation agreement:

  • It establishes each person’s financial responsibilities during the relationship.
  • Each person can enter the next phase of the relationship without fearing that property or money will be lost in the shuffle. 
  • The agreement can take the pressure off and allow the couple to focus their energies on other concerns.

Unmarried partners can look for a written agreement in case they want to enter into a partnership. You can find various ready-to-use cohabitation agreements online. LegalZoom offers a comprehensive and professionally drafted cohabitation agreement template provided at the top of this page. You can answer the questionnaire provided to fill out our template and download your document for free. 

If you need to edit certain terms of the agreement, you can do it easily with the help of our rich editor. To get editing capabilities, purchase our template at an affordable price and start creating your agreements with ease.   

Directions to follow while creating cohabitation agreements

Enter into a cohabitation agreement before moving in together

You can enter into this agreement any time during your relationship, but it is usually a good idea to agree on and sign it before you and your partner move in together.

Use the document to address how you’ll separate property if you break up but also how you will share expenses during the relationship.

Be clear about why you need a cohabitation agreement

Cohabitation agreements are certainly not required for every couple who chooses to live together. People who enter these agreements may do so for any number of reasons, including any or all of the following:

  • To reduce living expenses. 
  • Because their state does not recognize same-sex unions.
  • To properly compensate one party who is taking care of the home and give the needed financial support to run the household.
  • To protect one or both parties' substantial assets or property.
  • To protect one party’s significantly higher income or assets.
  • Because the couple will live in a home owned by one of them.
  • One or both parties expect to receive substantial assets during the relationship from a settlement, inheritance, court award, or gift.
  • One or both parties have significant debts.

Understand the difference between a cohabitation and a prenuptial agreement

A cohabitation agreement is not the same as a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement is a contract that people enter into before getting married that continues throughout the marriage and becomes effective if and when the marriage ends. 

On the other hand, a cohabitation agreement is signed between unmarried individuals when they enter into domestic partnerships and want to make the relationship official through a legal contract. However, a cohabitation agreement becomes invalid when the couple gets married.

Know the requirements to create a separate cohabitation property agreement

There are issues that cannot be addressed completely in cohabitation agreements. You may need to create and sign additional documents to ensure your property and debts are maintained and distributed according to your wishes. In such cases, you must create a separate cohabitation property agreement. 

For example, post-death distributions should be addressed in a last-will or living trust, and healthcare issues may require a living will or power of attorney. Because unmarried couples will not receive the same automatic protections that married partners receive. Hence, it’s essential to ensure that these documents are properly created and signed to record your preferences and protect your rights.

Examine the entire agreement before signing

Both parties should review the completed agreement carefully to ensure that all relevant deal points have been included.

Keep the signed copies

The involved partners need to sign two sets of cohabitation agreements. One copy is kept by one partner, and the second one is retained by the other partner.

Prove the validity of the agreement

Depending on the nature of its terms, you may decide to have your agreement witnessed or notarized. This will limit later challenges to the validity of a party’s signature.

Take legal help

If your cohabitation agreement is confusing and complicated, it is better to seek legal advice. An attorney can help you understand the legal requirements of your agreement. The legal counsel can also help you draft a document that will meet your specific needs.

Key clauses included in cohabitation agreements

The following instructions will help you understand the terms of your agreement.


Start the cohabitation agreement by introducing the parties involved in the agreement. You can address them as “party one,” and “party two.” You also need to provide the effective date on which the agreement is to be signed.


This section, referred to as recitals, offers key background information about the parties. Mention the key details of your relationship, like:

  • Whether the partners are already living together or want to live together in the near future.
  • If they have any children together and need child support. You must include the names and birth dates of the children too.


This part details the property ownership you and your companion have for a property. It contains all the general property rights. If you and your partner want to make separate agreements about a particular piece or type of property, you can do so.

Following is a list of things that are considered as property.

(a) Separate property: It states that any property that either party owns before the agreement is signed will remain that person’s personal property. In other words, one party doesn’t have any claim on a piece of property owned by the other before they start living together. 

To make this clear, each party is given the ability to list all of their personal property separately. This can include things like real estate, household furnishings, furniture, appliances, jewelry, antiques, vehicles, bank accounts, life insurance, equipment, stocks, bonds, retirement plans, or other assets. 

It is not mandatory to list every spoon and knickknack on this list, but it’s a good idea to include most large ticket items so both parties know their property rights.

(b) Income: In this section, the parties agree that any income either of them earns after the effective date will be shared. You can include exceptions to this rule. For e.g., any income earned from personal property will remain the property of that individual. 

It also provides the provision to keep any future income separate.

(c) Gifts: Explains that gifts that either person receives will remain the property of the person who received them.

(d) Inheritance: It states that any money, property, or specific assets received by one party as part of an inheritance will remain their separate property.

(e) Winnings: Any money earned through gambling or the lottery (or similar sources) will be considered separate property of the person who won it.

(f) Awards and settlements: Income received as part of a lawsuit settlement will be the property of the person who received it.

(g) Insurance proceeds: Insurance settlements or payouts will be the property of the person receiving it.

(h) Shared property: This part states that the jointly owned property of the parties shall remain shared property. You and your partner can mention what those are in this section.

(i) Separation: If you and the other party split up, this subsection explains how any jointly owned property will be divided. During separation, the cohabiting couples can either share the property in half, where each party will receive 50% (or the monetary equivalent), or each person will receive the amount they contributed to the purchase of the property. 

For example, if you put in 70% of the money to buy stocks together, you’ll receive the equivalent of 70% of those stocks.

(j) Household expenses: This section outlines your agreement about who will pay how much for the day-to-day living costs. These can be: 

  • You and your partner split the costs 50-50. 
  • You will split the costs according to how much you earn. In other words, if you earn 70% of the household income, you will support payments for 70% of the household expenses. 
  • You can designate a specific percentage of the expenses to be paid by each party (which doesn’t have to be equal or in proportion to how much either of you makes).

(k) Exchanges between parties: A cohabitation agreement doesn’t stop the parties from exchanging or transferring ownership of property. 

However, if you want to do this, you should ensure there’s written evidence of this transfer. Obviously, this may not be necessary for every minor item you give to one another. But for larger ticket items (e.g., cars, houses, etc.), you should make sure there is evidence that ownership rights are being given. Without written evidence, it may be difficult to prove that one or the other of you clearly owns it.


This clause determines how animals will be cared for if the unmarried couples own pets and they stop living together. According to this, one person can take ownership and responsibility for the pets, or the parties can split custody, visitation, and expenses according to the agreed-upon terms. Provide any visitation schedule or other agreements you and your partner have.


This part details the obligations of each party for separate and shared debts.

(a) Separate debts: This explains that any debts that either party owed before the date of the agreement will remain that person’s personal debt. In other words, the party that didn’t create the debt won’t have to pay for it if the relationship ends. All debts incurred before the cohabitation are separate (e.g., educational loans or job training loans). 

However, for joint debts (i.e., debts that the two of you incurred together before you started living together), the parties must pay off together.

(b) Debts from separate property: States that any debts that are created by or that came about because of a party’s separate property remain the responsibility of the owner of that property. For example, if you own a piece of real estate and take out a mortgage on that property after you start living together, the mortgage payments are your responsibility. Your partner will not be responsible for that debt.

(c) Separation: If you and your partner break up, this subsection explains how your shared debts will be divided. You and your partner can split the obligations 50-50, regardless of who borrowed what. Or the debt will be divided in proportion with the initial division of borrowing. In other words, if one borrowed 70% of a debt, they will be responsible for paying back 70%.


(a) Names of children: Lists the names, birth dates, and places of birth of the parties’ children. Enter the names of the children you and your partner have.

(b) Obligation of support: It states that both parties have an obligation to raise and support their children. If the parties separate, they agree that this obligation will continue according to law. Provide the name of the state whose laws will control the parties’ financial obligations and maintenance requirements. This will generally be the state in which all of you live.

(c) Best interests of the children: Herein, the parties agree that the best interests of their children are the most significant factor in determining questions about their upbringing or support. If a court later finds that anything in this agreement is not in the best interests of a child, this subsection allows the court to revise the agreement.

Estates and testamentary disposition

Your estate is everything you own at the time of your death. In other words, after your death, all of your possessions (and all of your debts) form your “estate.” A testamentary disposition is how your property is distributed according to your will.

(a) No restrictions on distribution: It states that regardless of what is said in the cohabitation agreement, neither party is required to leave all or any part of its property to the other party. Of course, either party is entitled to leave as much or as little to the other as they choose.

(b) Named beneficiary: This section allows either party to make the other a beneficiary (i.e., person receiving property) in their will or any other document transferring property after their death. 

(c) Waiver of inheritance rights: This subsection waives each party’s rights to get an automatic share of the other’s property under certain state laws. Again, this does not mean the parties can’t receive the other’s property under a will or a trust. It simply means that they aren’t entitled to an automatic distribution outside of those documents.

Additional terms

An optional provision allowing the parties to include any other provisions particular to their situation. For example, if you want to include a distribution of household chores, you can feel free to detail that arrangement here. If you do include something like that, you should be aware that this may not be something that will stand up in court.

Representations and warranties

This section details the parties’ promises under the agreement. One party’s promises serve as an incentive for the other to enter into the agreement.

More specifically, each party is promising that:

  • neither of them are married;
  • they’re not married to each other (or married to each other under the parameters of “common law marriage”);
  • they’re both entering the agreement because they want to and not because the other partner is forcing them to;
  • they both had the chance to talk to a lawyer before entering the agreement. This doesn’t mean that either party actually did talk to a lawyer, just that they both had the opportunity to do so; and
  • they haven’t entered any other contract related to the rights and responsibilities detailed in the cohabitation agreement.


This part explains that certain actions or events will end the agreement. If one person simply wants to end the arrangement, they can do this by providing written notice. Provide the notice period one party must give of its intent to terminate the arrangement. 

The cohabitation agreement terminates automatically if the parties get married. At that point, the state’s rules about marriage, partnerships, and the property rights related to them will govern your relationship.

Other documents

It states that the parties promise to sign any additional documents or contracts if those become necessary to complete the agreement or to make the agreement effective. For example, if the parties want to make an agreement about the distribution of a specific asset, they agree to work together to draft and sign it.

Successors and assigns

This part indicates that the parties’ rights and obligations will be passed on to heirs or other people who have been assigned those rights. For example, the rights to certain property will be transferred to the people named in someone’s will.


Indicates that any changes to the document are ineffective unless they are in writing and signed by both parties.

No implied waiver

This section explains that if either party allows the other to ignore or break an obligation under the agreement, it does not mean that the party waives any future rights to require the other to fulfill those (or any other) obligations.

Governing law

This part allows the parties to choose the state laws that will be used to interpret the document.

Counterparts; electronic signatures 

This section asks the parties to sign the agreement if they agree to the terms of the cohabitation.


This clause protects the terms of the cohabitation agreement as a whole, even if one part is later invalidated. For example, if a state law is passed prohibiting choice-of-law clauses (i.e., the sentence in which you pick the state law that will govern your agreement), it will not undo the entire document. Instead, only the section dealing with the choice of law would be invalidated, leaving the remainder of the agreement enforceable.

Entire agreement

It states that the parties’ agreement that the document they’re signing is “the agreement” about the issues involved.


This section mentions that the headings at the beginning of each section are meant to organize the document. Any interpretation of the agreement should not be based on the headings.

Frequently asked questions

What's a cohabitation agreement?

When you decide to make a home with your significant other, moving in together can yield as many moments of stress as joy. If you are not legally married, one way to help both of you feel more secure is with a cohabitation agreement. This document outlines financial responsibilities and protects each person's property if the relationship ends.

What essential information is required to complete your cohabitation agreement?

The following information is required to complete your cohabitation agreement:

  • Who the cohabiting couples are: Keep the names of the partners ready.
  • Details of the children: Include the name and date of birth of the children, if any.
  • How to divide expenses: Consider how household expenses and bills will be divided.
  • If there's any shared property: Provide the property details shared with the partner.
  • If there's any shared debt: Give the details of the shared debt.
  • Whether there are pets: Know how custody would work if you split up.
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