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Legal and Financial Books
The Laws of Love, by Attorney Donna C. Kline.
This hefty guide recognizes the diverse scenarios that arise in different types of living arrangements—all within an accessible legal framework. It provides practical charts, including one that compares cohabitation to marriage with respect to joint bank accounts, child custody, property rights, etc. There is an interesting social history of love and relationships, as well as reader-friendly summaries of court cases and laws.
* Living Together: A Legal Guide for Unmarried Couples, by Attorneys Toni Ihara, Ralph Warner, and Frederick Hertz (2008).
This user-friendly book is the best legal guide we’ve seen on the subject. It contains chapters on renting and buying a home, parenting issues, wills and estate planning, and sample living together agreements for a variety of situations. This 14th edition of the book comes with a computer disk containing forms you can use and modify for your situation.
* A Legal Guide for Lesbian and Gay Couples, by Attorneys Denis Clifford, Emily Doskow, and Frederick Hertz.
This book is an in-depth, accessible guide to protecting yourself as a same-sex couple. It includes information on medical emergencies, financial matters, parenting, wills, buying a home, and sample contracts for your relationship.
* Unmarried to Each Other: The Essential Guide to Living Together as an Unmarried Couple, by Dorian Solot and Marshall Miller (2002).
Based on interviews with over 100 people in unmarried relationships, this book by UE’s founders explores the ten most common reasons why people choose not to marry or delay marriage, and outlines a vision for a future that recognizes and supports a wide range of relationships and families, both married and unmarried.
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Living Together, by Rosanne Rosen (2000).
This book’s attitude seems to be, “If you live together, you’re a complete idiot.” Not a recommended source of supportive or useful information to couples who are living together or considering it. Link to Powells
Happily! Un-married, by John Curtis (2007).
An UE reviewer found this “business model for couples” full of “myths about cohabiters’ tendency toward unhappiness” and “a clear thrust toward traditional heteronormative patterns that reinforce old-fashioned gender roles.” Read the full review.
Continuity and Change in the American Family, by Lynne M. Casper and Suzanne M. Bianchi (2001).
Written against the backdrop of the “family decline” debate, these sociologists sort the last 50 years of family data into cohesive categories and comparisons by date. They then examine data from the past two decades in relation to family-related behaviors (such as cohabitation, fathering, single-parenting, grand-parenting, work and family) to search for causes of change in the American family and consequences of those changes. Read the full review.
Just Living Together: Implications of Cohabitation on Families, Children, and Social Policy, edited by Alan Booth and Ann Crouter (2002).
An excellent collection of articles from a recent academic conference on cohabitation, including research by leading experts in the field.
Shacking Up: The Smart Girl’s Guide to Living in Sin Without Getting Burned, by Stacy Whitman and Wynne Whitman (2003).
Written for women in their twenties and thirties who want to get married eventually, Shacking Up contains lots of advice about making the transition to sharing a home, and dealing with Mars and Venus relationship issues.
Money Without Matrimony, by Sheryl Garrett (2005).
Garrett’s book addresses financial concerns regarding being unmarried such as health insurance and Social Security survivor benefits. There are also tips on how to save more money.
* Financial Intimacy, by Jacquette Timmons.
Timmons never coaxes the reader toward one particular financial arrangement. Instead she helps the reader find answers so that she and her partner (if applicable) can start to make their own decisions on what money arrangements work best for them. Timmons includes specific financial concerns for single women living alone, cohabitating women, married women, women in same sex relationships, divorced women and stay at home partners.
* Legal Guide to Living Together, by Muses Legal Products.
For people who are ready to sign legal agreements to define their partnership, this CD can be a very affordable alternative to hiring an attorney. Lawyers around the country created 152 documents specifically for unmarried couples, with unique documents for each U.S. state where laws differ. The documents can be modified before printing.
Eternal Commitment: The 21st Century Alternative to Marriage, by Todd I. Stephenson.
This book offers an alternative structure for combining lives without combining finances. Read an UE member’s review here.
Financial Fitness for Living Together, by Elizabeth Lewin (1996).
This book includes suggestions and worksheets for unmarried partners on integrating your assets, managing your finances, and preparing for the future.
* Legal Affairs: Essential Advice for Same-Sex Couples, by Frederick Hertz (1998).
This book, by the same author as A Legal Guide for Lesbian and Gay Couples, discusses how to write agreements in “Happy Times” to protect oneself and each other during “Hard Times.”
Unmarried Parents’ Rights: (And Responsibilities), by Jacqueline Stanley, attorney at law (2005).
This legal guide is about the rights of unmarried parents who are no longer in a relationship. It includes samples of forms and summaries of the laws in all 50 states.
Eight Books on Relationship Contracts -This annotated bibliography by James Park lists books he’s found helpful on the subject of writing agreements with one’s partner(s) about one’s relationship.
Cohabitation (Living Together) Agreements Links
Relationships Made Easy By Marital And Cohabitation Agreements
A short article by a Colorado attorney about writing agreements.
Living Together and Cohabitation Agreements
This page from the Equality in Marriage Institute discusses what you should include in your cohabitation agreement, and suggestions for how to have those challenging conversations.
Civil Marriage Links
Marriage Requirements, Procedures, and Ceremonies FAQ
A great resource from Nolo.com, publishers of Living Together and A Legal Guide for Lesbian and Gay Couples. Answers to questions about blood tests, marriage certificates vs. marriage licenses, and who can perform a marriage ceremony.
General Legal and Financial Links
JP Boyd’s British Columbia Familiy Law Resource
A legal site with information for unmarried same-sex and different-sex couples, and common-law couples, in British Columbia, Canada.
Nolo’s Living Together Encyclopedia
This page, brought to you by the folks who wrote the excellent books Living Together and A Legal Guide For Lesbian and Gay Couples, includes answers to frequently asked questions about unmarried couples’ property rights, parenting issues, medical decisions, common law marriage, and premarital agreements.
American Bar Association: Finding Legal Help
A helpful section on how to find a lawyer (including how to find free legal help, and how to solve your problem without a lawyer), what questions to ask lawyers, and referral lists.
A great site with information about and links to a wide variety of legal issues affecting same-sex couples.
Partnership for Caring
You can download free copies of your state’s healthcare proxy (medical power of attorney) forms and living wills from this site. These are important if you want if you want an unmarried partner, or someone other than your legal next-of-kin (usually your parents or adult children), to be able to make medical decisions for you if you were unable to do so. The site requires a quick registration to access the free downloads.
One theory on how to gain rights without marriage is to form “limited liability companies” (LLCs). They can be created by any number of people and any combination of genders. Each LLC can make its own legal agreements. We don’t know anyone who’s done it, though. If you have, please let us know!
Do you have legal or financial books, links, or other resources you’d recommend? Let us know so we can add them to this collection!