Living together without marrying has become an increasingly popular option for many couples. Our expert Family Lawyers have advised many couples in this situation, some who want to enter into a Cohabitation Agreement.
Unfortunately, we find that many cohabiting or unmarried couples are not always fully aware of their legal rights. Many tend to rely on the myth that in living together they are acquiring rights as a “common law spouse”.
What is a cohabitation agreement?
If you live with your partner, or you are planning to live together (whether as a heterosexual or same sex couple), you need to think about entering into a cohabitation agreement, which is also sometimes referred to as a ‘living together agreement’. This is an agreement which records the arrangements between you and your partner and can set out how you will own your property and other assets as well as what will happen to the assets should you decide to separate.
The cohabitation agreement sets out who owns what and in what proportion and can include issues such as: –
- Ownership of property
- Deposit on your home
- What share of the mortgage or rent you will pay
- How household bills will be dealt with
- Bank accounts and money
- Life insurance
- Assets such as cars, furniture, other property, jewellery
- Payment of debts
A cohabitation agreement can: –
- Give you both a clear understanding of what your financial commitments are to one another.
- Avoid misunderstandings regarding your rights and responsibilities as you continue to live together, in particular with regards to ownership of property.
- Set out what will happen to your assets should you separate which can avoid disagreements if you split up.
It is important therefore to give some thought to your arrangements before you live together. We can provide advice on the important matters to consider as well as how the Court may view your arrangements given the nature of your relationship.
When should we sign up to a cohabitation agreement?
We would advise that if you are purchasing a property joint that you have the agreement in place before your purchase completes so that the agreement can clearly record your intentions at the outset of your cohabitation. However an agreement can be signed at any point, even after you have started to live together.
Our team of specialist family lawyers have advised many clients on the merits of entering into Cohabitation Agreements as a way of protecting their rights and setting out how assets will be dealt with should the relationship break down, thus minimising the stress and costs of any later Court proceedings.
For further advice on cohabitation agreements contact our team on 0800 015 0340 or firstname.lastname@example.org