This article by Anna Goldfarb in The New York Times may be of interest.
Tips for Living Together Without Going Nuts
Moving in with your partner before getting married is a big step legally, financially, and emotionally. Here are some compelling cohabitation tips from the experts.
Legal and Financial Steps
Don’t combine finances in a permanent way.
Don’t co-sign for a credit card or a loan together. By law, you are not both liable just because you live together.
Be vulnerable and honest when talking about money. Agree to a financial plan. Enlist the help of a financial planner if necessary.
Reveal your student loan debt, credit card balances and other obligations. Create a plan to reduce these debts over time.
If you open a joint account, also maintain individual accounts. Rent or mortgage, property taxes, food, pets, utilities and emergency savings may be joint expenses. Boys’ or girls’ nights out or student loan debt may be separate. Joint expenses can be divided equally, or in proportion to income.
Informal agreements can backfire. Legal documentation is best.
If buying a house, consider how you will divide mortgage, property tax, maintenance, homeowner association fees and insurance payments. Decide how, and under what conditions, the house would be sold, and if one party would have the right to buy out the other. Come up with a backup plan should one partner be unable to keep up with payments.
Don’t assume you’re on the same page about what chores need to be done, how and how often, and who’s going to do them.
Consider whether you and your partner share the same standard of cleanliness.
Do chores together and put on music or a podcast. Tie something positive to a chore you might not be looking forward to.
Interior Design Tips
Scour sites like Chairish and the marketplace section of Apartment Therapy for local, gently used pieces, and browse flea markets for inexpensive finds.
Don’t underestimate the power of textiles, accessories and window treatments; they can bring a space to life.
Use smart storage solutions to help transform a home.
Pare down possessions. Try to make sure you’re not holding onto a ton of stuff that isn’t meaningful to you anymore.
The Emotional Side of Things
Look at the bigger picture: Do you think this person will be a good roommate?
Figure out who’s going to shop, cook, clean and pay the bills, while striving to keep it as fair and balanced as possible.
Talk respectfully, take responsibility for yourself and try not to raise your voice. Bring grievances up in a way that’s respectful. Do not blame or shame. When conflict arises, use “I” statements to address the disagreement.
Always try to put your best foot forward. If you’re going to be walking around in pajamas, at least try to make them cute pajamas.
Make a series of agreements about how and when screen time is allowed.
Mealtimes and the bedroom should remain technology-free to give you and your partner an opportunity to connect.
Minimize “double screen” time. If you’re doing something with your partner, even if it’s something as mindless as watching TV, focus on that alone.
K.O.’s Comment: If you liked this, then you may want to read a related article also written by Ms. Goldfarb, “What I Wish I’d Known Before Moving in Together.”
Information provided by K.O. Herston: Knoxville, Tennessee Divorce and Family-Law Attorney.