Couples who are not married or in a civil partnership have no automatic legal rights if they separate, meaning many people risk being treated unfairly or left with nothing if their relationship breaks down. This can be particularly problematic for those who own a home together or who have children.
A cohabitation agreement allows you to set out what will happen to shared assets, such as your home, if your relationship ends, as well as other key details, such as if one partner will be required to pay the other maintenance. Cohabitation agreements are legally binding, meaning they give strong protections to both parties in the event your relationship ends.
Cohabitation agreements offer a number of advantages for couple living together – below we highlight 5 of the key benefits you can achieve.
1) Establish your entitlement
If you move into a property owned by your partner, you will have no rights with respect to the property, even if you contribute to the mortgage while living there. If you buy a property together, your ownership will be assumed to be 50:50, irrespective of how much each of your contributes to the mortgage and other bills.
A cohabitation agreement allows you to clear up such issues, making each partners legal entitlement clear so you do not end up feeling you have been treated unfairly if you do separate.
2) Make life easier if you do split up
The end of any relationship can be stressful and confusing. A cohabitation agreement can make the process of separating much simpler by making each partner’s rights and responsibilities clear.
This can reduce the risk of falling out over financial matters and other details and prevent the need for legal action to resolve any disputes. As a result, sorting out your affairs when separating can be simpler, faster and cheaper.
3) Protect your future and your children’s future
If you are not married or in a civil partnership, you will not be entitled to any kind of financial settlement or personal maintenance payments if your relationship ends. This can cause a problem if you have been reliant on your partner for financial support, especially if you have children together for whom you are the primary carer.
A cohabitation agreement can allow you to specify a financial settlement and maintenance payments if you do separate, allowing you time to make arrangements for your future and your children’s future.
4) Reduce the risk for conflict when living together
A cohabitation agreement doesn’t just have to cover the potential end of your relationship, it can also specify details for when you are living together. For example, it can state how much each of you will contribute to your mortgage, bills and other financial commitments.
By having this agreed up front, it reduces the potential for disagreement later on, as both parties are clear exactly what is expected of them.
5) Save money
Although it may cost you money to create a cohabitation agreement, it has the potential to save you a lot of money if your relationship ends. A cohabitation agreement can help you avoid the need for legal action, which can quickly become expensive, as well as being time consuming and stressful. Therefore creating a cohabitation agreement is generally an expense well worth paying for.
Crisp & Co’s family law solicitors can help you create a Cohabitation Agreement that effectively protects your interest when living with a partner without getting married or entering a civil partnership. We have many years of experience in this area, so can help to ensure all of the important details are taken care of, minimising the risks of any problems when living together or if your relationship ends.
To find out more, call us today on 020 3797 4952 or get in touch using the enquiry form below.