Today’s millennials take a different view of marriage than those that came before them. They are waiting longer to get married. Some are deciding not to marry at all but to form a domestic partnership instead. In fact, some will prefer the word “partner” to “boyfriend” or “girlfriend.” Quite a few married couples also prefer the term “partner” to “husband” or “wife.”
What’s in a Word?
You may ask yourself what the big deal is. Most millennials want to use terms free from stereotypes, and “partner” indicates a more even distribution of power. When you’re partners, you work together and divide things evenly. In past days, “partner” was used to mean someone you were in business with. Then, it became for people in a romantic relationship, usually younger people, refer to themselves as partners, whether married or not.
Making a Contract
What’s a partnership without a contract? Quite possibly because they have waited longer to get married, millennials have had plenty of time to think about what they want from a relationship and a partner. They feel like contracts increase clarity about their expectations, both from themselves and from their partner.
What Points are Outlined in a Domestic Relationship Contract?
No two relationship contracts are alike. They can cover everything… work responsibilities, domestic chores, custody of pets, even custody of frozen embryos. These contracts can cover everything that a millennial might list in a pre-nuptial agreement… Without the nuptials! They may indicate what happens if one of the partners is unfaithful. Who gets to stay in the apartment or house? What if one of the partner’s parents becomes ill and needs to move in? Who takes out the trash, and who does the laundry? How is income divided? How we divide the sofas, TVs , pots, pans, and utensils.
All these questions, and more, make up the topics that are likely to cause disagreement if the relationship is in trouble, and dissolving it seems the only course of action that makes sense.
Are Relationship Contracts New?
These relationship contracts have been around for years since the sixties. They are more popular than ever, and many millennials view these adult problems as a fact of life. We must remember that most of them witnessed firsthand what devastation a divorce or breakup can cause. Not only did they see their parents (and then their parent’s boyfriends and girlfriends) fight over how to divide monthly expenses, but also who gets the Kitchen Aide mixer, when a relationship fails.
Are Relationship Contracts Necessary?
The simple answer is yes. When people get divorced, there is a set of laws how to divide property as well as how to handle financial obligations and support. But for unmarried couples, the trickiest situations for me to handle are unmarried couples. These agreements set a framework for not only partners to know what to do, but more importantly for a Judge to know what to do.
Millennials understand the importance of thinking things through and gaining clarity in their relationships. Failure to sign an agreement before beginning a living arrangement may be a deal-breaker for one or both parties. One thing’s for sure, the conversations that take place while constructing a relationship contract can get quite lively! But the benefits to be gained by talking things out and planning intentionally may outweigh the disagreements that take place and help to form a more perfect… “partnership!”
At Mummert Law, we can help you define your relationship… on your terms! Not sure what to put into a relationship contract? Disagreeing over terms? These are situations where we can help mediate between the partners and help come to an agreeable solution.
If you’d like help to form a relationship contract with your partner, Mummert Law can assist you. Contact our office and make an appointment for a consultation.