Head of Family, Children and Divorce
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:
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.
For more details about cohabitation agreements please contact Raworths family law team.