Getting legal advice on cohabitation


Deciding on marriage and divorce are both big decisions for an individual to make. At present, the numbers of marriages taking place are in constant decline, with many couples opting to cohabit instead.

This may present a risk to the individuals choosing to cohabit, especially when the couple do not realise that there is no such thing as a ‘common law marriage’ and that they do not have equal rights to those couples that are married.

As a preventative measure, couples who choose to live together should seriously consider the use of a cohabitation agreement.

Cohabitation agreements

A cohabitation agreement is a formal agreement between cohabiting couples setting out the parties’ respective positions regarding finances and personal assets.

This could include details such as who will pay the mortgage each month and how much each party will pay. It can also govern what will happen to a couples finances and personal assets should the relationship break down.

If you decide you would like to create a cohabitation agreement for your situation, our family solicitors can advise you on what should be included and can draw up an agreement for you. Click here for more information on cohabitation agreements.

Might the law change?

At this time the UK is not bringing in laws to protect cohabiting couples.

The Ministry of Justice has said that it is looking into the matter and will make an announcement in due course. In addition, the President of the Family Division (Lord Justice Wall) has called for family law to be amended so that cohabiting couples may be given some of the rights of married couples or couples who have contracted civil partnerships. This was in 2011 though, and two years later there is no change.

There is no statute on the matter before Parliament at present, and there is little political agreement on the way forward. This makes cohabitation agreements all the more important.

Do you need advice on cohabitating? If you have an issue surrounding cohabitation, marriage or divorce, Contact Law can put you in touch with a specialist family law solicitor. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

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