Around one in four people living together think they have the same legal protection as if they were married. In fact, there is no recognition in English law for cohabiting couples, so it can get messy if a relationship ends. You can help insure against this by drawing up a cohabitation or living-together agreement.
Despite a rapid increase in the number of people living together, including those with children, virtually nothing has changed in how the law treats these couples and their assets if they separate. Financially weaker partners in particular can find themselves facing real difficulties if they split up.
Having a cohabitation ownership agreement can avoid legal wrangling if you break up. It sets out who owns what and in what proportion, including property, contents, personal belongings, savings and any other assets and how you will support any children.
It can also cover how you will manage day-to-day finances while you live together, such as mortgage, rental and utility payments, insurance policies and bank accounts. It may not sound very romantic, but agreeing all this at the beginning of a relationship can save an awful lot of emotional and financial heartache later on.
Although not legally binding, any such agreement will be taken into account by the courts, particularly if each party has taken independent legal advice. Our solicitors are very experienced in this area and can help you and your partner draw up an agreement if you are about to move in together or are already doing so.
In most cases, we can do this for an up-front fixed fee, making it an affordable way to get peace of mind for the future.