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At Crisp & Co, our cohabitation solicitors have worked with many couples who have chosen to cohabit rather than marry.

Cohabiting is a preferred option to marriage for many people, for a variety of different reasons. However, many cohabitees do not have a clear understanding of their legal position as an unmarried couple. If your relationship unfortunately breaks down, understanding your legal status in advance and making arrangements can benefit you in the long term.

With our team of specialist solicitors at hand, you can get the support you need to protect your interests. For cohabitating couples, we advise drafting a cohabitation agreement. These agreements can help you to protect your financial interests and establish asset ownership, as well as clarifying your responsibilities.

We can support you with a wide range of cohabitation law areas, including:

  • Cohabitation agreements
  • Buying a property as an unmarried couple
  • Cohabitation disputes
  • Separation for cohabiting couples

To discuss these option today, you can get in touch with our expert solicitors, using the details below.

Contact our cohabitation agreement solicitors

For help with any legal issues related to cohabitation, contact our expert cohabitation solicitors now by calling 020 3613 4617 or use the contact form above to request a call back.

How Crisp & Co Solicitors can help you with Cohabitation Law

Cohabitation can be a sensible option. Whether you’re buying or renting a property, the prospect of moving in together can be exciting. But, if issues arise, you’ll need a legal safety net to fall back on. That’s where Crisp & Co come in.

Whatever your situation, we have the experience and legal expertise to help you choose the right options. We can help you with all aspects of cohabitation, giving you complete peace of mind about living together as an unmarried couple.

Cohabitation Agreements

A cohabitation agreement (also sometimes known as a ‘living together agreement’) allows you to set out the rights and responsibilities of each partner with respect to a house you are sharing and any associated issues. They are particularly recommended if buying property together without getting married or entering into a civil partnership.

Things a cohabitation agreement will typically cover include:

  • What percentage of a jointly owned property each partner owns
  • How much each partner will contribute to the rent or mortgage
  • How bills will be divided
  • What happens to the property if the relationship ends e.g. will it be sold, or will one partner buy the other out?

Without a cohabitation agreement, a partner whose name is not on the title deeds will have no legal right to the property, even if they have lived there for years and contributed to the mortgage.

If both partners’ names are on the title deed, the property will usually be automatically split 50:50 between the couple if they separate, even if one partner contributed significantly more to the deposit or mortgage payments.

A cohabitation agreement can be particularly important if you are not married or in a civil partnership and have children together. In these circumstances it can provide certainty that the children will be taken care of if your relationship ends.

Buying property as an unmarried couple

When purchasing property as an unmarried couple, you have two options: to purchase as joint tenants, or to purchase as tenants in common.

Joint Tenants – When purchasing a property as Joint Tenants, you’ll jointly own the property and therefore have equal legal rights to it. In the eyes of the law, both you and your partner must act as a single owner. When you jointly own a property, you cannot be forced to leave without a court order and the property cannot be sold without your written consent.

Tenants in Common – As Tenants in Common, both parties have a share in the property. Both can sell this share should they want to move out, and should you die the share would pass on to the person specified in your Will as opposed to automatically being transferred to the other owner.

If you aren’t sure which one suits your needs as a couple, speak to our specialist cohabitation agreement solicitors for guidance and advice.

Cohabitation Dispute Resolution

Where there are disputes over any aspect of cohabiting, either during your relationship or if your relationship ends, we can help you to quickly and effectively resolve these issues, saving you time, money and stress.

Our family law solicitors specialise in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) including mediation and collaborative law. These techniques are designed to allow couples in dispute to avoid the need to go to court to achieve a resolution.

Mediation involves both parties sitting down with a trained neutral mediator to discuss the relevant issues and agree a mutually acceptable solution. Collaborative law involves both parties meeting, each supported by their own solicitor trained in collaborative law to negotiate a solution each party can accept.

Both methods can make it much faster, less expensive and, crucially, less confrontational to resolve cohabitation disputes. As well as being less stressful, this can allow you to maintain a better relationship, which can be essential if you are still cohabiting or have children you will need to continue parenting together.

Drafting a cohabitation agreement may help you to avoid certain disputes regarding your children, for more information, please contact our cohabitation agreement solicitors today.

Separation for cohabiting couples

Should the relationship between you and your partner break down during cohabitation, your first step should be to seek sound legal advice as early as possible.

While the separation itself may not seem as daunting as a divorce, there are still crucial matters to resolve before parting ways. For this reason, we urge unmarried clients who are living together to draft a cohabitation agreement.

Cohabitation agreements should detail all the responsibilities of both parties as well as determining exactly what your legal position is regarding finances, children, and property in the eventuality of a split.

Why choose the cohabitation agreement solicitors at Crisp & Co? 

At Crisp & Co, we pride ourselves on our ability to get clients from A to B with minimal fuss. Understanding your legal rights during cohabitation is vital from the moment you move in. That’s why our specialist cohabitation solicitors will always keep you informed about your options, not only prior to moving in, but at any point during cohabitation.

We’ll be there when you need us, for practical advice that’s tailored to your needs. Our team are experts in all cohabitation matters. With our focus solely on family law, couples from all walks of life trust Crisp & Co to explain everything with clarity and to be there to answer any questions you have along the way.

To discuss your cohabiting rights today, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our cohabitation agreement solicitors.

Everything you need to know about cohabitation agreements

What is cohabitation and what does it mean?

Cohabitation is the term used to describe an unmarried couple that lives together, either in a rented property or a purchased one. Couples choose to cohabit for a number of reasons - some economic, some personal. Ultimately, cohabitation comes with advantages and disadvantages just like marriage. Increasingly, couples are choosing to cohabit prior to marriage to test whether or not both parties are compatible as a couple when living under the same roof and sharing responsibilities.

However, before moving in together, it’s imperative that you and your partner are clear on a number of legal issues to avoid disputes arising in the future. While it may not be the conversation you want to have with your partner, it’s vital to safeguarding your assets and protecting your interests.

Creating a cohabitation agreement can help you to protect your assets, and achieve a clear understanding of how the financial side of your relationship will work, both now, and if your relationship later breaks down.

To discuss cohabitation agreements today, please contact our expert family lawyers today.

What are the myths surrounding common law marriage?

Many couples believe that if they have been cohabiting for a number of years without getting married, they will still have the same legal rights as a married couple. This is known as ‘common law marriage’, or having a ‘common law partner’. While the idea might seem appealing to some couples, common law marriage has absolutely no legal standing and is not usually recognised by any court.

Where a couple are unmarried, there is no automatic right to home ownership or assets should the couple separate or one party pass away, regardless of how long they have been cohabiting. This is another reason why cohabitation agreements are a vital part of moving in together.

To learn more about cohabitation law, and discuss how we could help you, please contact our experts cohabitation agreement solicitors at Crisp & Co.

What rights do cohabitating couples have?

While unmarried cohabiting couples do not share the same rights as a married couple, both still have certain rights and responsibilities.

Property - Where the property is rented, only the tenant named in the tenancy agreement is entitled to live there. If your partner is not included on the agreement, consent must be sought from the landlord if they wish to share the rented property with you.

Similarly, if the property has been purchased under only one partner’s name, they have the right to sell the property without consulting the other, unless the other partner can prove that they have an interest in the property, or the partner has applied to the court for the right to live there due to their children’s welfare.

Therefore, when purchasing property as an unmarried couple, you should consider buying as joint tenants or tenants in common. Doing so will allow you to access to the same legal rights regarding your property.

Possessions & Finances - Unlike a married couple, cohabiting couples have no legal duty to support each other financially. Furthermore, since you are unmarried, your assets and income remain solely yours unless stated otherwise, and do not become matrimonial property such as that of a married couple.

However, where both parties are liable for debt that has not been repaid, you could still be pursued if your partner is failing to pay their share. Where benefits are concerned, your household income will be assessed as a whole rather than your individual earnings, meaning there could be a reduction in the amount you can claim.

Children - When it comes to children and cohabiting couples, it’s vital for both parties to know exactly how the responsibility is being shared. If unmarried, the birth mother automatically has full parental responsibility.

The birth mothers’ partner can only have parental responsibility if they are named on the birth certificate, or have signed a written Parental Responsibility Agreement with the mother. It is also possible to obtain a parental responsibility order from the courts, or by getting married to the birth mother.

In order to minimise disputes regarding childcare, we recommend entering into a cohabitation agreement with your partner prior to moving in, to ensure that your partner is aware of their legal position in regards to the children.

How much does it cost to separate when cohabiting?

The legal costs depend on the length of time it takes to reach agreement over how property and any other shared assets will be divided. However, at Crisp & Co we pride ourselves on offering the most competitive rates for the best expertise, often charging only half the rates of similarly qualified solicitors.

We do understand that it is important that you know from the outset what your legal fees are likely to amount to. For this reason, we provide each and every client with a bespoke costs plan and time estimate from the very first appointment with regular updates as needed.

For those clients who have a need to limit costs to a certain sum, we also offer a ‘pay as you go’ service, whereby work is limited to a certain cost limit set by the client.

You will not be charged for your initial appointment at Crisp & Co. We can find out what your needs are and how we can help you and also give you an estimate of your likely overall legal fees, including expenses and VAT.

We will ensure that you provide an accurate breakdown of our cohabitation law advice fees as early as possible.

What is a cohabitation agreement?

Cohabitation agreements are legal documents which establish the assets and responsibilities of an unmarried couple. These outline how asset ownership and financial responsibility will work both while living together, and what will happen if the couple splits up in the future.

Unmarried couples do not have any form of automatic legal protection if their relationship ends, and so cohabitation agreements can be useful for protection, clarity and to avoid disputes.

How much does a cohabitation agreement cost?

How much cohabitation agreements cost depends on the legal service you use, and the type of support you need. When you work with our experts at Crisp and Co, we will ensure to provide you with a quote as early as possible.

How to get a cohabitation agreement?

If you would like to draw up a cohabitation agreement, you can get in touch with a specialist solicitor.

Your solicitor can walk you through the process, including, providing a financial disclosure and negotiating the terms. Your lawyer can also provide tailor made legal advice, to ensure that the agreement accurately reflects your needs.

If you and your partner are having trouble agreeing on the terms of the cohabitation agreement, your cohabitation solicitor can help you to discuss your concerns, and come to mutually agreeable conclusions.

Can you have a cohabitation agreement when one person owns the house?

Yes, if you are moving in with your partner and they own the house, you can still have a cohabitation agreement.

The agreement can be used to address your financial contribution to the property whilst you are living there, and what, if any entitlement you would have if you the relationship where to end later.

If you are in this situation, we can help you to discuss your concerns, and to draft a cohabitation agreement that fairly reflects your needs and preferences. To learn more today, get in touch with our cohabitation agreements solicitors

What can you include in a cohabitation agreement?

Cohabitation agreements are legal agreements between unmarried couples who are living togehether. These agreements are catered to your needs and situation as a couple, but in general can cover matters such as:

  • Which portion of a joint property each partner owns
  • How each person contributes to the bills, and rent or mortgage
  • How any children would be supported financially if you were to split up
  • What would happen to joint items if the relationship ended (cars, household furniture etc)
  • How each person will contribute to any debts
  • How joint bank accounts will work, during the relationship, and if the relationship broke down

When can't you make a cohabitation agreement?

According to cohabitation law, there are some circumstances where cohabitation agreements will not be legally viable or valid.

For example, if a person lacks mental capacity and did not understand the terms of the agreement before signing, then the agreement would not be legally valid. The same would be true if a person was coerced into signing a cohabitation agreement that did not reflect their wishes.

Cohabitation agreements should be an option for most people, and this is something that our cohabitation lawyers can discuss with you.

Contact our cohabitation agreement solicitors today

Considering cohabitation? Our cohabitation solicitors can deliver expert advice on what steps you need to take to protect your interests. Whether you are moving in with a partner, are buying a property together, or separating from a partner you cohabitate with, we can help.

Get in touch now by calling 020 3613 4617 or by using our contact form below to request a call back.