“I love you, but, what if we split…..bills?”

India is known for its pompous and showbiz weddings where an infinite number of heedless guests are invited and treated, to celebrate the supposedly biggest event of the ‘family’s’ life. But then the percentage of people choosing the alternative is growing tremendously as well. Inspired by the western culture and the conventional propagandist freedom of choice, several couples choose to cohabitate and save that enormous amount of capital on the wedding solitaire and fancy knot-ties.

But are you legally and financially secure with your partner?

While married couples do have legal and financial protections in one or the other way, live-in couples might face huge challenges which should be well considered in advance before making your crucial move.

If you guys are living in a rented residence, it is always advisable to split up your rent along with other major finances. This avoids unrequired and sleazy disputes and hassles, for all the obvious reasons. After all where there is love, nothing as unruly as this should come in the way. But one of the partner owning the house brings a completely new angle to the story.

Unmarried couples having joint bank accounts and even children is as common as sawdust around sawmills. In such a scenario, it is imperative that both of you sit together and plan out the management of expenses like- food, housing, childcare, and other necessary utilities. Put up questions like who owns what? Are you both responsible for your respective credit cards? What are your saving policies? Can the difference in both of yours’ salaries affect your child’s key care? It is elementary to be on the same page and know that cohabitating is much more than sharing the bathroom or the T.V.

Entwined into a relationship agreement will help you incredibly in the event of an unfortunate break up, without involving court scenes. If things go south, a prenuptial agreement will conveniently address debt planning, property distribution, financial support, who will claim tax-deductible expenses, and so on.

If you are planning to buy a property with your partner to move in, you’ve again got to pay close attention to how you shall set up a joint property. If you put it in one person’s name, the owner might sell up the property anytime without the partner’s consideration, even if the partner helped in the down payments and the mortgage payments. This is as realistic as harsh it sounds. Also, in case of the untimely demise of the owner, the house won’t pass to the partner by default, unless it is willed in that way. Consecutively, both of you fund the purchase, but only one of you is entitled to the property, then any sale down the road shall be given to the record owner of the house.

There are hundreds of free templates available online where you can construct simple wills and agreements. I am not telling you how much share you should own. I am telling you to know how much share you own. To conclude, it is far better to be pragmatic than sorry.


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