We’ve all been there. You meet someone really great and you really hit it off. It starts off innocent enough—someone stays the night, and leaves a toothbrush. Before you know it, you’ve cleared out a drawer for the special someone and making sure to buy their favorite brand of orange juice at the grocery store. The transistion from just dating to cohabiting can be seamless.

Living together is easy to justify.

Excuses like:

“I spend most of my time over there anyway.” 
“He lives closer to my job.”
“Why pay for two places when we only need one.”

Nowadays, the decision to for couples to move in together becomes more about convenience than an actual dry-run of how living together while married will be. It’s no big deal. With the economy being what it is, it may be more cost effective to take on a roommate with benefits.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind before you make that leap. America’s Toughest Judge: Judge Judy released her new book this month entitled: What Would Judy Say? A Grown-up Guide to Living Together with Benefits.

In an interview with Inside Edition, the Judge listed a few key points to consider before cohabitating.

She said, “Living together is here to stay and as long as you’re going to do it, there should be ground rules and you should do it in a smart way.”

Judge Judy’s Rule Number One: Set a time limit on how long you’ll live together.

Rule Number Two: Keep your property separate.

She says, “No joint anything! No joint dog, no joint time share, no joint car.”

Rule Number Three: Postpone having kids until you’ve got that wedding ring.

Other key points to discuss before you rent the U-Haul truck:

How are we going to split the rent? How will we pay the utilities? What happens if it doesn’t work? Who gets the apartment?

As Judge Judy points out: There are no courts for just living together.

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