Can't speak about kids (YET!), but for the rest...
From the original post: "How are bills, kids, cooking, etc. handled in your situation?"
My answer is actually a bit more complicated than some others' would be, I suspect. My two partners and I actually co-house with six other housemates (including one partner's sister) and any number of hangers-on (the number actually varies from day to day, and is much higher on weekends)... many of us went to Bennington College together, and then we all wound up moving to Boston.
Personal finances: I'm engaged to be legally married to one of my partners, K, so he and I have totally co-mingled our finances. Unofficially, Z (my other partner) and K's sister are both part of our larger entity, so we often share expenses.
Collective finances: We all pay 1/9 of the rent and 1/9 of the utilities. Z coordinates paying rent every month, and K coordinates utilities. Eight of us share a weekly grocery rotation in pairs. Each pair spends a set amount ($200) a week... the ninth person refills us on drinks midweek.
Cooking: We have a weekly schedule for who's night it is to load the dishwasher. A few nights a week, people are scheduled to cook for the house (with scheduled pot'n'pan cleaners), and for everything else people wash their own pots and pans.
Chores: Everyone's permanently assigned one duty (straightening living room, cleaning bathroom), and suffers housemate ridicule if they don't do them at least occasionally.
Decision Making, Grievance Airing, Etc.: Coffee hour is actually a tradition we carried on from Bennington College. We meet once a week for an hour (sometimes more, sometimes less) and talk about whatever issues we're having. We're usually pretty productive about this, because we insist on being so.
How about you all?
"I was thorough when I looked for you, and I feel justified lying in your arms." - Chasing Amy