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Cohabiting Solicitors

A couple that is cohabiting is one that is living together without being in a civil partnership or a marriage. Cohabiting partners can draw up an agreement, known as a cohabitation contract, outlining their legal rights such as property ownership, parental responsibility, joint ownership of possessions, etc.

What Does Cohabiting Mean?

When you cohabit, you're choosing to live together in a romantic relationship without being married or in a Civil Partnership. This arrangement has become more common in recent years, reflecting the way relationships are evolving in today's society.

Legal Implications

Cohabiting doesn't offer the same legal rights and protections as marriage. In the eyes of the law, cohabiting couples are not granted the same rights as married couples, including inheritance rights or access to a partner's pension. It's important to understand these differences and seek legal advice if needed, to safeguard your interests.

Pros and Cons

One of the benefits of cohabitation is the opportunity to test compatibility and assess the long-term viability of the relationship before marriage. On the flip side, without legal protections, you may be more vulnerable if the relationship ends. Understanding both the advantages and disadvantages can help you make informed decisions.

Differences from Marriage

While cohabitation shares some similarities with marriage in terms of living together and sharing a life, legally, they are distinct. Marriage comes with a range of legal rights and obligations that cohabitation does not automatically provide. Understanding these differences is crucial when considering your future plans.

What is a Cohabitation Agreement?

A Cohabitation Agreement is a legally binding document entered into by two people who are either already living together or are about to. Its main purpose is to set out their financial obligations to one another.

The agreement can document how you will split your property, its contents, personal belongings, savings and any other assets if the relationship breaks down.  It can also be used to set out how you and your partner will manage your day-to-day finances, for example:

A cohabitation agreement doesn’t cover any day-to-day obligations or activities, such as who should do the housework or gardening around the home.

Legal Recognition

A Cohabitation Agreement is a legally binding document that outlines the rights and responsibilities of individuals living together in a relationship. It allows you to clarify financial arrangements, property ownership, and other important matters. 

Housing (Rented Accommodation and Owner-Occupied)

Whether you are renting a property together or one partner owns the home, a Cohabitation Agreement offers a structured approach to address housing-related issues. It can outline obligations regarding rent or mortgage payments, property maintenance, and potential ownership rights. This clarity is essential in ensuring a fair and transparent living arrangement for both parties.

Ending the Relationship

In the unfortunate event of a relationship breakdown, a Cohabitation Agreement helps facilitate a smoother separation process. 

By establishing a Cohabitation Agreement, you not only protect your rights and assets but also promote open communication and mutual understanding in your relationship. 

Is a Cohabitation Agreement Legally Enforceable?

Provided they are done correctly, yes. The agreement will be signed as a deed and be contractually binding.

You should always take legal advice before creating (or entering into) a Cohabitation Agreement to safeguard your rights and clarify expectations within the relationship. By seeking guidance from Family Law experts like GloverPriest, you can ensure that the agreement is thorough, legally valid, and upheld.

When going through a divorce, the children always need to be remembered – we’ll help you to carry on with your responsibilities as a parent, whilst going through this process.

When Should I Draw Up a Cohabitation Agreement?

When considering when to draw up a Cohabitation Agreement, it's crucial to understand that the timing is essential in protecting your interests. 

Ideally, the agreement should be drawn up before you move in with a partner or when you have been living together for many years (especially if you don’t plan on getting married). The agreement should be reviewed periodically, particularly where there has been a significant change in circumstances like having children.

What happens to a Cohabitation Agreement if I get Married?

The Cohabitation Agreement will cease to exist upon the marriage or civil partnership, as you will then be subject to matrimonial law.

If you have concerns about your financial arrangements after you get married, you might want to consider entering into a Prenuptial Agreement (Prenup). This written agreement states what should happen to a couple’s finances if the marriage or partnership breaks down.

Why Choose GloverPriest?

If you need legal advice about any issue relating to cohabiting or Cohabitation Agreements, get in touch with our expert and compassionate family law solicitors.

In some areas of family law, we offer a free 30-minute introductory meeting with a member of our legal team. This meeting is free and designed for you to get to know our firm and your solicitor and for us to learn more about your case. By completing this initial meeting, you can make an informed choice about how you want to move forward to get the best results.

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