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The North Carolina family law attorneys of Gailor, Wallis and Hunt offer tips for successful cohabitation relationships.

/// 11/09/2010

The debate between cohabitation and waiting to live together until marriage is a widely discussed topic. Years of research have attempted to discover whether living together before marriage proves beneficial in the long run. Institutions, such as the Center for Disease Control and the Pew Research Center, find the likelihood of relationships ending after a certain period of time is lower for those who are married than those who only cohabitate.  Notwithstanding, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, unmarried households became the majority of U.S. households in 2005. This fact supports the notion that couples are either choosing cohabitation instead of marriage, or have been married and since divorced. The divorce attorneys of Gailor, Wallis and Hunt explain that the choice of cohabitation rather than marriage leaves the cohabitants with  financial, legal and personal decisions similar to those married couples face. For instance, if cohabitants decide to purchase properties, make joint investments or have children, their decisions have legal and financial ramifications similar to married couples making the same decisions

In an effort to educate couples who chose cohabitation instead of marriage the North Carolina family attorneys of Gailor, Wallis and Hunt present a recently published article on survival tips for couples who cohabitate. The article, titled “Going Cohab? 8 survival tips for staying together,” authored by Liz Brody offers insight into the many issues that cohabiting couples face. Gailor, Wallis and Hunt offer this information for consideration so that if you are debating whether to venture into cohabitation, you can take steps to help the relationship successfully endure. Gailor, Wallis and Hunt explain the 8 steps as follows:


Define the situation

There are many reasons for moving in with your partner. Assess whether you are on the same page. If the other partner sees the process of cohabitation as an effort to build towards a future while the other simply sees it as a money saving situation, you may be on the wrong path. Clarify your individual and joint goals.

Discuss finances

Sharing living quarters results in sharing finances. Money is undoubtedly the number one source of conflict for couples, and leads to a substantial amount of separations and divorces. Decide whether you will keep separate accounts or opt for a joint account. Discuss bills and budgets and decide, in advance, who will pay for which expenses to avoid future conflicts.

Consider a cohabitation agreement

A legal agreement between  two cohabiting partners could prove beneficial should an unfortunate break up occur. The agreement, which is a binding legal contract, can deal with, in advance, any issue that the cohabitants choose so long as it is not against public policy. An attorney experienced in family law  can prepare these contracts and can save separating cohabitants much turmoil over division of property, payment of debt and other issues.

Learn how to compromise

Sharing quarters with anyone requires understanding and tolerance. Decide whether an issue  is worth the fight, or relationship, before battling. Relationships require give and take on both parts. If the compromise is uneven, the relationship will be unsteady.

Keep your personal space

Partners often struggle with dividing time between old friends and friends of their new partner. While it is important to nurture a romantic relationship, it is equally important to keep parts of yourself to yourself and your long term relationships intact.

Learn how to fight

Conflicts are inevitable. It is up to you how you handle them. Some recommend a code word or signal that tells feuding couples to take a step back and assess the situation. If the debate is still fiery after a 20-minute break, then it is important. If not, be glad you took the time to cool down and not spend an evening, or week, screaming. Try to listen to each other without interruption.

Don’t forget the romance

The daily stress and habits of work and domestic life has the tendency to tame the initial love and passion. Try not to allow the stresses of everyday live to overshadow your passion for each other. Do not take for granted all that your partner means to you. Show him or her your love and affection.

Assign jobs

When it comes to household chores and daily tasks, write them down and designate who is responsible for which tasks. It allows a fairer sharing of domestic responsibilities and prevents fighting over which partner is taking on an uneven share of the household tasks – a sure fire way to create anger or resentment between couples.


While the Raleigh divorce attorneys of Gailor, Wallis and Hunt present these tips to help those considering cohabitation, they understand that commitments – whether a cohabitation relationship or a marriage –  sometimes dissolve. If a marital or committed relationship fails, there is always help.

The Raleigh, North Carolina family lawyers of Gailor, Wallis & Hunt help men and women work through the emotional and financial entanglements that occur when a marriage or committed relationship dissolves. With over 80 years of combined experience, the firm offers highly competent and dedicated representation in the following matters: mediation, arbitration, cohabitation agreements,  separation and property settlement agreements, divorce, alimony and child support and equitable distribution of property with an emphasis on representing business owners.

For a confidential and personal review of your case, contact Gailor, Wallis & Hunt at 1-866-362-7586 or visit them online at

Gailor, Wallis & Hunt, PLLC

Divorce is Tough – So Are We




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