Whether you are making plans to move in with your partner or you are already living together but want to have the security of knowing where you each stand with financial and property matters, cohabitation agreements are a sensible way of documenting:
Here are some FAQs and information to tell you a bit more about what cohabitation agreements do and when you might need them.
A cohabitation agreement is a document which sets out what the intention of the two parties who are living together, or who intend to live together, have in relation to property and finances generally.
A cohabitation agreement records what a couple agree should happen with the finances and property during the relationship and if the relationship were to end.
It can also set out what each party agrees should happen in the event of one of the parties dying. This must also be recorded in a will but it is helpful to set out the detail in a cohabitation agreement to avoid any issues in the future. If a couple lived together for more than two years, it is possible for the surviving partner to make a claim on the deceased partner’s estate. It is therefore important that a will makes their wishes clear but the cohabitation agreement will show that both parties were aware of and agreed those arrangements.
it is a common misconception that couples who live together are “common law husband and wife” and have protection under the law. That is not the case and this can lead to upset as well as financial hardship if the relationship breaks down.
There are certain rights regarding property which can be acquired by either party either at the outset when a property is purchased or during a relationship, depending on financial contributions or promises made between the parties. However, if the relationship breaks down and the parties do not agree how a property should be dealt with, it can be a very difficult process prove what was intended. If there are court proceedings taken, it comes down to the court making a decision but in property matters where couples are unmarried, the court has very limited powers.
- Where either or both parties have children from previous relationships and they wish to protect their respective financial contributions for their children in due course
- Where one party is contributing financially more then the other. This may be in relation to the house purchase itself or ongoing financial contributions.
- Where a property is owned in the sole name of one partner and the other moves into the property but it is not intended the party moving in shall have any financial interest, or it is acknowledged that he/she will have some financial interest and what that is.
- Where one party makes a contribution which had not been anticipated at the time the parties started living together and the agreement needs to be updated to reflect this.
- Where the parties have a child during the relationship.
The existence of a cohabitation agreement does not prevent either party from making applications to the court in relation to the property, or Children Act applications were there is a child or children of the relationship and they wish to seek financial adjustment. However, the existence of the cohabitation agreement provides clarity to the couple which, more often than not, means that there is no dispute on separation. If court proceedings are taken, the agreement is evidence of the intention of the parties which assists the court if such an application is made.
- Having upfront conversations with your partner about property and money often takes away a lot of tension and worry about what may happen in the future, particularly if your relationship hits a bumpy patch.
- If you and your partner have an agreement abut what should happen if your relationship breaks down, you are less likely to have the need for court proceedings to resolve matters.
- Investing a relatively small sum to confirm what you and your partner agree at the outset or during a relationship can potentially save you or your family thousands of pounds if things go wrong in the future.
Cohabitation agreements usually cost in the region of £550 + VAT, however, we will give you a fixed fee quote when we have spoken to you about the detail of what you need.