Legal Assisting EDU Moment
by Jessica Reynolds
Without a doubt, my favorite TV show is The Big Bang Theory (TBBT). I love the mix of comic book culture with scientific theories and other “nerdy” genres. The same can be said to describe myself. I enjoy playing MMOs, reading comic books, learning about new scientific discoveries, and…the law. Alright, now I know that last one doesn’t really seem to fit in with the rest. But trust me...“law” can be found in the most inconspicuous places, and can be quite fun, and interesting.
For example, on TBBT, Sheldon is always referring to the fabled “Roommate Agreement.” Now, individuals living together can enter into a Roommate Agreement (It’s usually not as exhaustive as Sheldon’s), but they can also enter into a “Cohabitation Agreement.” So, why did the brilliant Sheldon Cooper choose a Roommate Agreement instead of a Cohabitation Agreement?
A Roommate Agreement is a contract between two or more individuals living together regarding the general obligations and responsibilities they have to each other (not including the landlord). Some examples of typical inclusions are: amounts each roommate pays for utilities, responsibilities for overnight guests, and the protocol if a roommate decides to move out. A Roommate Agreement is not required; however, it helps set clear rules and responsibilities for everyone in the household, as well as a means to enforce those rules if and when they are broken.
A “Cohabitation Agreement” (living-together agreement) is a contract between an unmarried couple to protect their rights as a couple along with clarifying their individual property rights and financial obligations. Some common provisions include childcare, dealing with debt (individual and mutual), ownership of property, and financial support. Although it’s not required, this agreement is very beneficial for unmarried couples who wish to protect their assets and interests in the event of termination of the relationship.
In summary, a Roommate Agreement is ideal for those individuals in a short-term relationship looking to set clear rules and responsibilities for cohabitating together, while a Cohabitation Agreement is better suited for those in a long-term relationship that want to protect their individual interests as well as their interests as a couple. (Yes, Sheldon chose the best option for his circumstances!)
*If you have questions about the above as it pertains to your specific circumstances, you should contact an experienced attorney to discuss your case.
Jessica Reynolds is an Instructor for Ridley-Lowell’s Legal Assisting program. Courses she teaches include litigation, criminal law & procedure, legal research and communication, and family law planning and probate. Her legal career spans more than 12 years in real estate, mortgages, divorce & family law, corporate compliance, case law research, and civil procedures. For more information about Ridley-Lowell’s Legal Assisting program, call 1-877-606-5325 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.