One of the many legal documents that your local family attorney can help you with is a roommate agreement. A lot of people have roommates without ever thinking about getting such a document — perhaps because they don't know that such a possibility exists. However, before you begin to live with a friend or two, or perhaps even someone you hardly know at all, it's a good idea to meet with a family attorney to work on a roommate agreement. Here are some things that this document can outline for you and your roommate.

Breakdown of Expenses

Perhaps the most important reason to sign an agreement with your roommate is to clearly define the financial responsibilities for each of you upon moving into an apartment or other type of dwelling. There are all sorts of arrangements that you may wish to consider, but a common scenario is to cut everything in half. In other words, you and your roommate are each responsible for 50 percent of the rent and 50 percent of the expenses, such as water, electricity, and other utilities. Having this document gives you legal recourse in the event of your roommate not paying his or her share.

Division of Responsibilities

Your roommate agreement can even give you an authoritative way to divide the responsibilities. One of the biggest conflicts that can arise between roommates occurs when one person doesn't do as much around the apartment as the other. For example, one person might constantly be tidying and cleaning, grocery shopping, and performing other similar and important duties while his or her roommate fails to do so. Your family attorney can help you to equally divide these responsibilities in your roommate agreement.

Length of Notice

Whenever you rent, your rental agreement will stipulate how much notice you must give prior to moving out. People who live together, however, can form their own rules with each other, and it's good to put these rules into a legal contract. For example, you don't want your roommate deciding that he or she will move elsewhere in a week, as you may struggle to pay the next month's rent. Your roommate agreement is ideal for having you both promise to provide one another with a mutually agreed-upon amount of notice before moving out.

Your family attorney may raise a few other issues that are important to include in a roommate agreement and that you'll want to consider.