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Cohabitation Agreement Solicitors

If you live together with your partner as an unmarried couple it can be complex when separating, as the law does not provide for financial agreements for cohabiting couples as it does for married couples or those in a civil partnership.

Without a cohabitation agreement or a living together agreement, there is often little that can be done to resolve financial disputes when separating from a cohabiting partner by using standard family law proceedings.

The family courts could be used in certain cases, but this largely depends on how property and businesses are owned, e.g., jointly or as tenants in common.

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    Cohabitation Agreement Service

    The best way for cohabiting couples to protect themselves is to draw up a cohabitation agreement, or a living together agreement as they are sometimes known.

    Our cohabitation solicitors can do this for a fixed fee of just £599 including VAT.

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    A Cohabitation Agreement allows unmarried couples living together to set out their intentions regarding the division of finances and assets upon separation.
    • Solicitor drafted Cohabitation Agreement to your exact needs
    • Professional legal advice on the implications of the agreement
    • The agreement is sent to your partner’s solicitors if they have one
    • All correspondence from your partner’s solicitor will be dealt with
    • We advise on any requested contract amendments or objections
    • The original cohabitation contract is securely stored for you

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can you draft your own cohabitation agreement?

    A cohabitation agreement can undoubtedly help prevent financial disputes between couples in a cohabiting relationship. But can you draft your own cohabitation agreement?

    The straightforward answer is yes. You can draw up your own contract using a free online cohabitation agreement template. However, the more important question is “should you draft your own cohabitation agreement?”

    Firstly, if contemplating drafting your own living together contract its essential that you are familiar with the new laws for cohabiting couples.

    You also need to be aware that cohabitation agreements are only legally binding if they are drafted correctly and include specific legal clauses whilst also meeting certain pre-contract conditions.

    Ultimately, if you want a robust agreement that is likely to be upheld in court then you are well advised to instruct a cohabitation solicitor to help draft the agreement for you.

    Otherwise, you may save money at the outset, but it could cost you dearly if the agreement doesn’t stand up to scrutiny when needed.

    What are the rights of unmarried couples?

    A cohabiting couple is simply an unmarried couple who live together, and those couples now represent I in 5 of all couples that live together.

    But although cohabitation is common practice, there is still confusion about the legal rights and responsibilities of cohabiting compared to marriage in England and Wales.

    Cohabitating couples do have the same legal protection in areas such as domestic abuse, but cohabitation gives no legal status to a couple in the same way as it does in a marriage or civil partnership when it comes to financial matters.

    Sadly, many people are still unaware of this, so you may wish to read our feature unmarried couples rights upon separation for more details while also learning about the myths of common law marriage.

    What is a beneficial interest in property?

    Cohabiting couples that do not marry have fewer legal rights upon separation than their married counterparts, especially when it comes to property.

    When an unmarried couple lives in a jointly owned property both parties will retain their individual rights that come with legal property ownership upon separation.

    But if the property is owned entirely by just one partner, their former partner will not generally be entitled to any share of the equity in the property.

    Though, there is a way for the non-owner to claim rights to the property owned by their former partner, even if they are unmarried. This approach is called registering a beneficial interest in a property.

    A beneficial interest in property provides a non-owner with rights to occupy the property and/or to receive a financial share of the equity. To find out how to register beneficial interest in property see our guide: what is a beneficial interest in property.

    What is a cohabitation agreement?

    More couples than ever before are now choosing to cohabit, possibly as a heterosexual or same sex couple, without getting married or entering a civil partnership. Some buy a home together and some start a family without ever having their relationship legally recognised.

    Although their living together as a cohabiting couple may seem little different to living together as a husband and wife or civil partners, their legal rights are markedly different when it comes to separating if things do not work out as planned.

    Cohabiting does not allow the same legal rights as a marriage or civil partnership in the eyes of the law. Consequently, couples living together with assets or debts, whether individually owned or shared, can experience financial issues and uncertainties upon separation.

    The solution – A cohabitation agreement can go some way to offsetting the absence of rights afforded by marriage or civil partnership by preventing lengthy disputes when separating.

    A cohabitation agreement is a legal document entered into by each cohabiting partner. It sets out agreed intentions and arrangements in relation to property and other assets or debts owned individually or jointly following a relationship breakdown and subsequent separation.

    What does the law say about cohabiting couples?

    At present, there is no precise legal definition of what a cohabiting couple is, but a cohabiting couple is generally regarded as two people in a relationship of the opposite sex or same-sex who are not married or in a civil partnership and who form a living arrangement in the same household.

    Many cohabiting couples assume that they will be protected under ‘Common Law’ after a long period of cohabitation and that they will be entitled to claim a share of their partner’s assets if they separate. But unfortunately, this is simply not the case.

    The current law states that cohabiting couples must divide their jointly owned assets if they separate, but any individual assets such as pensions, savings and investments including property will not be divided.

    As a result, when it comes to cohabitation rights, the current law allows cohabiting couples fewer rights on separation or death than is given to civil partners or married couples.

    This situation can clearly leave some people who choose to cohabit in a vulnerable position, especially those who choose to stop working to raise a family while their partner has a career and builds up a pension and savings in their individual name.

    If the relationship does not work out and the couple separate, the ‘stay-at-home’ partner will not be entitled to a share of their partner’s sole assets.

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