Cohabitation lawyersIf you are living with a partner but are not married (even if you are in a civil partnership), you are cohabiting. Friends who live together can also be legally termed as cohabiting, as can family members. There are legal agreements you can put in place in this instance for peace of mind.
Why does this matter?
Because the courts don’t consider the length of time you have lived together or even if one of the parties has raised children and been responsible for the running of the family home. You simply do not have the same rights as a married couple, or a couple in a civil partnership.
In England and Wales, the law gives separated married couples a legal right to maintenance and share of joint assets, such as property. A court will take all of a couple’s circumstances and relationship history into account and decide the fairest way to divide their shared assets. But if you aren’t married and live together, these rights don’t apply.
No two relationships are ever the same, so at Britton and Time we treat every case with individual care and attention.
What is a Cohabitation Agreement?
You might want to consider drawing up a Cohabitation Agreement to ensure your rights and finances are protected, even if your relationship breaks down.
This is a document designed to protect you both from unnecessary stress and costs. It outlines what will happen to family, finances and assets in the event of a separation. This can include shared assets, property rights and even care of pets and children.
It can also cover life insurance decisions and current financial arrangements, such as how much you both agree to contribute to household bills, rent and mortgage payments.
Is a Cohabitation Agreement legally binding?
If you write your agreement as a formal legal deed, which Britton and Time Solicitors can ensure, then it is legally binding. This is a particularly worthwhile process if there are likely to be property-related issues. If you do not do this, it is not a legally binding document, but the court usually follows its instructions, as long as they are deemed fair to both people. A court is far more likely to uphold your Cohabitation Agreement if you have taken informed legal advice when drawing it up.
Do I need a Cohabitation Agreement?
If you live with a partner it is a good time to consider a Cohabitation Agreement, and even more-so if you have children together. If you have taken the decision not to get married or enter a civil partnership, or you know it will be a number of years before you do either of these things, you may also want to consider drawing up a Cohabitation Agreement.