At Crisp & Co, we’ve worked with a vast number of couples who have chosen to cohabit rather than marry.
Cohabiting allows you to truly decide whether or not you want to take things further later down the line. It’s a smart move. But what are your legal rights as a cohabiting couple?
If the relationship breaks down, where do you stand? With our team of specialist cohabitation solicitors at hand, you’ll be fully equipped to move in with your partner worry-free.
Purchasing property and holding a wedding reception can both be costly affairs. It’s no surprise, therefore, that many couples are choosing to hold off on marriage until finances allow. As a result, an increasing number of couples are cohabiting first, living together before sealing the deal. Whether it’s an economical or emotional decision, it’s a sensible choice for those who aren’t ready for marriage or fear the fallout of divorce. However, if your relationship breaks down during this time, understanding your legal position in advance and making arrangements can benefit you in the long term.
For help with any legal issues related to cohabitation, contact our expert cohabitation solicitors now by calling 0203 857 9885 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 things get rocky, 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 to protect your interest. We can help you with all aspects of cohabitation, giving you complete peace of mind about living together as an unmarried couple.
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 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 as it provides 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 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 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 cohabitating or have children you will need to continue parenting together.
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.
This agreement 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 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. When it comes to couples and cohabitation, we know our stuff. 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.