Moving in together is a big step in any relationship, both emotionally and legally. Most couples consider moving in together to be purely emotional, but the reality is that it has a ripple effect. In many countries, living together for a certain period can have the legal nuances of getting married. Entering a de facto relationship (sometimes referred to as common law) will impact your finances, lifestyle, and long-term obligations and responsibilities. Here are some important factors to consider when entering a de facto relationship.
What are the Reasons to consider De Facto Relationship?
The first thing that both parties should discuss is why they want to move in together. Everyone must be on the same page in this regard. Common reasons for entering a de facto relationship include wanting to spend more time together, moving for work, wanting to start a family, or sharing the cost of living.
Ensure that you and your partner are aligned in the reasoning behind your decision. Moving in together because it seems like the next logical step in a relationship doesn’t work for everyone.
Planning for the Worst Case
It can be difficult to have logical conversations when in love. It can be even more challenging to have rational discussions when a relationship crumbles. As de facto relationships are often treated similarly to marriage in the eyes of the law, it’s worth discussing the division of assets before moving in together.
Putting documentation in place before moving in together is a smart way to protect both parties down the road. This documentation is especially necessary if one person is moving into the other person’s house, as discussed by Clayton of CLW Lawyers. Consider having a Binding Financial Agreement drawn up to protect individual assets when moving in together. This discussion can be challenging but worth having.
Discussing Financial Responsibilities
Another tough discussion is working out the finances of moving in together. While many couples have an idea of what their partner’s financial situation is, it becomes far more apparent when sharing a home. It’s essential to discuss finances in-depth to determine who will be paying for what.
Many couples make the mistake of agreeing to split everything equally when sharing the cost of a home. However, it’s rare for couples to make the same amount of money. In many cases, one person will bear more financial responsibility than the other. Discussing these responsibilities in advance can save a lot of stress later.
Discussing Household Responsibilities
Another conversation that de facto couples should discuss beforehand is the division of household responsibilities. When you move in with someone, you often discover that you both have different definitions of clean and tidy.
Talking about household responsibilities and what your expectations are can clarify whether your ideas are compatible.
Learning to communicate in a healthy way is vital for entering a shared living space. When you move in with someone, you get a behind-the-scenes look at hidden qualities and habits. You may discover your partner drinks milk from the container or leaves their clothes beside the hamper. These issues are small and unimportant but can lead to big arguments if left unaddressed.
Create a communication plan for the first few months of living together. Discuss how you’ll approach those small-yet-important conflicts in a healthy way.
Finding Personal Space in De Facto Relationship
When you live with someone, you give up a fair amount of personal space and privacy. This factor of entering a de facto relationship can be a huge adjustment for everyone.
Keep in mind that personal space can be both emotional or physical. Perhaps you need a place to work from home in peace or just time to unwind and be alone. Consider how you can find that space before moving in together.
The key to a successful de facto relationship is having open communication before jumping in. Discuss the financial and legal impacts, as well as the emotional implications before moving forward.