Raworths LLP
Starting a New Relationship – cohabitation agreements Starting a New Relationship – cohabitation agreements

Starting a New Relationship – cohabitation agreements


We act for businesses as well as the people who create, own and invest in them, building long term relationships with our clients to understand the unique challenges and opportunities they face. Our depth of experience and knowledge is focussed on providing practical advice designed to meet all our clients’ business needs.

Individuals & Families

We understand how important your case is, our experienced teams are on hand to provide practical and effective legal advice. With one of the largest teams of lawyers in North Yorkshire we work for wealthy individuals and their families, trusts and family businesses - your needs are at the heart of what we do.


Our Commercial, Residential and Agricultural Property teams have the expertise to help you deal with the opportunities and challenges of the freehold and leasehold real estate market. We have substantial depth of experience of the property world and its demands which gives us the crucial ability to help you achieve your aims.

Resolving Disputes

Disputes are an unavoidable fact of life, but when they happen it is essential to find a quick, effective and practical solution to the situation. Whether your issues are commercial or business related, family or personal, we have the depth of experience, imagination and expertise to help you solve your problems.

Carmelita Ardren

Head of Family, Children and Divorce

Claire Hunter


Joanna Lofthouse

Chartered Legal Executive

Lucy Westmoreland

Trainee Chartered Legal Executive

The law relating to cohabiting couples is very different to married couples and those in a civil partnership.  Cohabitation agreements are not just used by the wealthy.  The concept of a “common law spouse” is a myth.  When a relationship breaks down between an unmarried cohabiting couple it simply comes down to who owns what and how this can be proved if not agreed.  Former cohabiting partners can find themselves involved in complex litigation involving trust law.  This can be avoided if the ground rules can be agreed and documented at the start of a relationship in a cohabitation agreement.

A cohabitation agreement is a contract between two people who live together which sets out an agreement on the division of the assets held jointly or in their respective sole names. The terms of the agreement are tailored to your individual circumstances and can include what is important to you both.  It provides clear evidence of what is intended either upon relationship breakdown or indeed on death.

If you decide to marry at a later date then you could consider a pre-nup.

There are many different reasons for wanting to have a cohabitation agreement. Common reasons include:

  • Having clear evidence of the ownership of pre-existing property and other assets
  • Documenting the ownership of the couple’s home, particularly if one party has moved into a property already owned by the other or if one party’s family has contributed significantly to its purchase
  • Agreeing the ownership of any property that is acquired in sole or joint names during the relationship and what will happen to it if the couple splits up
  • Documenting how living costs will be met

Many of our cases involve trust interests or wider issues of inheritance and estate planning.  We provide you with an holistic service by drawing on the expertise of colleagues in our Trusts, Wills and Estates team, to provide in-house advice about trusts, wills and estate planning, in conjunction with our family law advice.

How to contact us

Please contact Carmelita Ardren Head of Family on 01423 566666 or use this link to complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will get back to you.