The benefits of a cohabitation agreement
It is very noticeable that over recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of couples who are shunning marriage for the preference of living together.
In legal terms this arrangement is referred to as Cohabitation or Cohabiting Couples, and whilst at first sight it appears to be a sensible living arrangement, if in the future the relationship founders and you agree to separate, then without the proper planning and preparation the situation can quickly become messy and acrimonious particularly if there is a house or property involved.
The sensible arrangement is for both parties to agree to a cohabitation agreement prior to moving in together.
We can help you do this and it sets out clearly and precisely how assets will be divided between the two parties, who has responsibility for what and how possessions should be shared. It is especially important to think about this if you are buying a house together.
In other words a cohabitation agreement, signed by both partners, provides you with the protection you need if your relationship goes wrong.
Many people believe that if they live together they will have the legal rights of being a ‘common law wife’ or ‘common law husband’. This is a myth. In English law there is no such status as a ‘common law spouse’.
Therefore it is even more important that you both consent to a cohabitation agreement that sets out precisely and in writing what will happen in the event of a breakdown of the relationship.
Some of the possible problems you need to consider are:
• What if one partner moves into a house already owned by the other?
• What if you buy a property that is not in joint names?
• What if one partner makes a greater financial contribution than the other?
• What if you have arranged joint bank accounts?
• What if one partner has run up debts?
• What happens to all the other domestic possessions such as cars, furniture and so on?
• Most importantly, what if there are children involved?
As you can appreciate there is so much to consider, which is why you most definitely require qualified legal advice from a specialist family law solicitor who can provide the essential experience and expertise and who will also provide the level of legal advice and the expert guidance you need to ensure that you and your share of the assets are fully protected.
Although English law states that cohabitation agreements are not legally binding, at Higgins Miller we can produce a legally acceptable cohabitation agreement document that in the event of a breakdown in your relationship would most likely be upheld in court if you and your partner cannot reach an amicable arrangement.
We would most strongly recommend that you seriously consider arranging a cohabitation agreement with Higgins Miller before you move in together. Do not delay making contact with us because putting it off could mean that you have left it too late.
If you would like to discuss a cohabitation agreement with one of our specialist solicitors then we can arrange an initial one hour meeting in our Stockport offices for just £50 + VAT and we will provide you with a written report of our discussion together with our professional advice.To arrange this fixed fee first appointment please telephone us on 0161 429 7251 or email [email protected]
We are a firm of Stockport Solicitors specialising in divorce, matrimonial, family issues and children disputes. Based in Stockport but covering the whole of England and Wales, we offer a friendly but robust and practical approach to your case.FIND OUT MORE
We are a firm of Stockport Solicitors specialising in divorce, matrimonial, family issues and children disputes. Based in Stockport but covering the whole of England and Wales, we offer a friendly but robust and practical approach to your case.