CENTRE FOR MEDIATION & DISPUTE RESOLUTION ONLINE

Knowledge Base

Creating A Foundation for
Cohabitation 

 

September 1, 2014
Written by Halee Burg, Esq.

You are in a committed relationship… 

You and your significant other desire to live together but are not ready for or interested in marriage…

You decide to rent or purchase a property together, or move into a place one of you currently rents or owns…  

...You are in good company, joining over eight million cohabiting couples in the United States.

Research reveals that most couples “fall“ or “slide“ into living together.  For the majority of couples, there is little extended discussion about the why or how of cohabitation. Not surprisingly, slightly more than half of couples living together terminate their relationship within two years of moving in together.  Many relationships suffer in the process; sometimes ending in turmoil, either from the loss of the significant other, or from the rancor resulting from the absence of advance discussion or pre-planning concerning what happens in the event of a split.  Others end because the stress and conflicts of living together are too great.

Many of these conflicts may have been avoided with anticipatory, collaborative discussions and a mutual understanding of the possible outcomes. Moving in with someone is not to be taken lightly, and there are a host of issues to be considered.

Topics to Discuss Before Cohabiting 

If one of you has children, or you have children while living together, there are, of course, many other important issues to consider.

Roommates could also avoid future misunderstandings through thoughtful pre-planning.  Many of these issues are not unique to couples living together.  It would be equally prudent for two or more friends sharing a home, condo or apartment to contemplate and come to mutual understandings regarding important issues.

Mediation offers cohabiting couples and/or friends an opportunity to discuss in advance what the participants would like living together to look like, to anticipate concerns, to consider financial obligations, to discuss day-to-day responsibilities for the living space, and to agree ahead of time what who will be responsible for what, both during and at the end of a period of cohabitation.  

Whether a couple is cohabitating or a group of young post-grads are sharing an apartment, these relationships and/or living arrangement can change quickly and unexpectedly, for instance;

The reasons are legion, the results familiar.  Without a plan, when shared living relationships end, turmoil often begins.

Consider the following 3 scenarios:

Mediation can be of great value for cohabiting couples or friends.  Mediation provides a safe and confidential space, with a neutral and impartial third party, in which to discuss issues of mutual concern regarding living together, and to pre-plan for various contingencies.   

At CMDR, we can work with you to develop a plan to support a successful cohabitation relationship. 


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