Cohabitation agreements and disputes
At NJP Solicitors we have a team of family solicitors who can assist in drafting cohabitation agreements, alongside resolving any disputes. We can help wherever you are based and can meet via video link if required.
If you live with someone without getting married, you will not have the same rights as a married person. What rights do you have?, and how can you protect yourself?
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Many couples choose to cohabit without entering into a marriage or civil partnership. This can have serious implications if the relationship should break down.
The mere fact that a couple live together does not mean that one party acquires any right to financial support from the other if they separate, in the way that they would if they were married. And this is true no matter how long a couple live together – there is no such thing as a ‘common law marriage’.
In view of this, some cohabiting couples choose to enter into a written ‘cohabitation agreement’ (sometimes called a ‘living together agreement’), setting out what will happen in the event that they separate. A cohabitation agreement is a legally binding contract, which can be enforced in court, if necessary.
What does a cohabitation agreement contain?
There is virtually no limit to what terms a cohabitation agreement might contain, and it’s not necessarily just about what should happen if the relationship breaks down. It can, for example, include provisions about how the parties should divide responsibilities for the payment of day to day expenses during the relationship.
Otherwise, the agreement may set out how any dependent children should be looked after when the couple separate, what maintenance, if any, should be paid for the children, how any property and other assets should be divided after separation, and who should be responsible for any debts.
How do I obtain a cohabitation agreement?
For a cohabitation agreement to be legally binding both parties should obtain independent legal advice before signing it. It is also advisable to have the agreement professionally drafted by a Solicitor.
What if I don’t have a cohabitation agreement?
What happens when a cohabiting couple separate without having a cohabitation agreement, and cannot agree on arrangements for children and finances?
There is a lot to consider, for example just because a person cohabited for a considerable time in a property owned by the other party that does not mean that they acquire any interest in that property. You will need advice to ascertain if you have any interest in the property. This is a complex legal area, and anyone wishing to make such a claim should first seek expert legal advice.
We can advise and prepare a cohabitation agreement for you or advise you regarding a cohabitation dispute.