What does a cohabitation agreement do?
A cohabitation agreement allows you and your unmarried partner to decide what would happen to your assets, should your relationship break down in the future.
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To find out more about cohabitation agreements, including why you should make one, please download our free guide.
Cohabitation agreements explained
Cohabitation agreements are a little bit like prenuptial agreements, only they are specifically aimed at cohabiting couples – meaning that you live together but you are not married.
Cohabitation agreements are written contracts which set out who owns what, and in what proportion. They can also detail the current financial arrangements between you, and can specify what should happen to your assets, debts and possessions, should you split up.
This is an extremely useful exercise, as it will ensure each person knows (and has agreed to) the financial practicalities of your relationship. This will help to prevent any disagreements further down the line.
It is better to discuss these arrangements sooner rather than later, while you are able to communicate in a calm and considered way. This might be hard to achieve if your relationship takes a sour turn.
If you do break up in the future, you will already have made all the difficult decisions regarding the division of your assets. Otherwise you may find yourself locked in a dispute. This can be time-consuming and expensive to resolve.
Cohabitation agreements also provide a degree of protection for cohabiting couples, who are not automatically entitled to a share of their partner’s assets. Remember, there is no such thing as a common law marriage in England and Wales. This means that if your partner owns a certain asset, he/she is not legally obliged to give you a share – unless a cohabitation agreement says otherwise.
For more detailed information, please download our Guide to Cohabitation Agreements.
Family lawyers for cohabitation agreements
At Harrisons Solicitors we can provide expert legal advice regarding cohabitation agreements.
Our family lawyers can suggest whether a cohabitation agreement would be suitable in your individual circumstances, and can explain what information can be included. If you and your partner decide that you would like to proceed, we can draft the agreement for you.
We can also provide independent legal advice on cohabitation agreements that have already been drafted. It is important you speak to a solicitor before signing, or you might agree to unfavourable terms. It is also more likely that the agreement will be upheld in the future.
To speak to a family lawyer about a cohabitation agreement, please do not hesitate to contact us.