If you're living with a partner (or planning to live with a partner) to whom you're not married, you may want to consider signing a cohabitation agreement. This is something that same-sex couples definitely should consider as well. A cohabitation agreement is a written contract that sets forth your mutual rights and obligations with respect to joint and separate property, as well as stating any other financial or general obligations or expectations you wish to agree upon in advance of (or even after) moving in together.
You and your partner will need to hire separate lawyers to review and sign this agreement.
This Cohabitation Agreement is provided by attorney Frederick Hertz, for a couple that is keeping most of their assets separate, and agreeing to not provide any post-dissolution support to one another (the unmarried equivalent to alimony).
Frederick Hertz practices real estate and land use law in Oakland, California. His practice emphasizes the formation and dissolution of real property co-ownerships and property and financial agreements between unmarried couples (both same-sex and opposite-sex couples). He also serves as a mediator and arbitrator in disputes between unmarried partners, both gay and straight. Mr. Hertz is the author of Legal Affairs: Essential Advice for Same Sex Couples (Henry Holt & Co./Owl Books) and co-author of the Nolo Press' Legal Guide for Lesbian and Gay Couples and Living Together: A Legal Guide for Unmarried Couples.