Cohabitation Agreements

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What Is A Cohabitation Agreement?

The “common law marriage” is a complete myth. When unmarried couples choose to live together, they are often unaware that the law, upon separation, does not provide for them financially in the same way as it does for civil partners and married couples. 

You are best advised to enter into an agreement when you start cohabitating together or during your engagement to provide you with certainty as to how your assets are likely to be divided in the event of the relationship breaking down. 

You can then enjoy your new relationship knowing that your position is secure and you have done all you can to protect your position.

It is particularly important to enter into a cohabitation agreement if you wish to protect pre-acquired assets, if you have inherited wealth or have a family business. A cohabitation agreement details who owns what, in what proportion and allows you, and your partner, to document how to divide up a property, its contents, savings and any other assets should your relationship break down. It can also cover how any dependent children will be maintained, as well as covering other financial arrangements like bank accounts and debts.

We can negotiate the content of and prepare these relationship agreements for you. However, it is a good idea to try and agree with your partner what you would both like in the agreement in terms of who owns what and how the assets should be divided up in the event of a relationship breakdown. We recommend that one party instructs a Solicitor to draw up the cohabitation agreement and then send a copy to the other party who then instructs their own Solicitor to review the agreement and advise them. Once both parties are happy with the cohabitation agreement, the document is then signed and witnessed.

Although these relationships are not legally binding on the court in the event of a future relationship breakdown, they are increasingly being relied on and will carry significant weight if properly drafted and prepared.

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