Cohabitation agreements


It is a common mistaken belief that cohabiting couples in England and Wales have similar rights to those of married couples and those in civil partnership.

There is growing legal pressure for the law to do more to recognise the rights of those who choose to cohabit instead of getting married, but as of yet no such changes have been made, leaving cohabiting couples in somewhat of a legal no-man’s land.

The best thing to do if you’re worried about your assets, children and anything else is to draw up a cohabitation agreement.

What is a cohabitation agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is an agreement that can be entered into by couples who are living together but who are not married or in a civil partnership. It is also sometimes referred to as a ‘living together’ agreement.

What is contained in a cohabitation agreement?

A cohabitation agreement can cover a wide range of things, usually mostly financial matters. It may set out how property, other assets and children are shared between the parties.

It can also set out who has responsibility for financial repayments on any loans held by the parties. Cohabitation agreements may set out what arrangements will be in place if the parties separate, including living arrangements, and financial support.

When should a cohabitation agreement be entered into?

A cohabitation agreement can be entered into before or during the parties’ cohabitation.

It is important to enter into a cohabitation agreement before any major financial commitments are made together, such as buying property or taking out a joint loan. If either party is likely to inherit or win a large sum of money, it may be advisable to enter into a cohabitation agreement to secure that interest.

Are cohabitation agreements binding?

The legal status of cohabitation agreements is uncertain in the UK. However, if a dispute arises about issues that were set out in the cohabitation agreement, the court will no doubt give consideration to the agreement made between the parties.

However, a cohabitation agreement which is unfair to one party may not enforceable.

How do you draw up a cohabitation agreement?

It is important to have a family law solicitor assist you to draw up a cohabitation agreement. A family law solicitor will explain the financial and legal consequences of the terms of the agreement. A family law solicitor will also endeavour to ensure the agreement has binding force.

Do you want to secure your legal interests by drawing up a cohabitation agreement? Contact Law can put you in touch with a specialist family law solicitor in your area, with experience in writing effective cohabitation agreements. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above and we will call you back.

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