It is possible for same-sex couples, as well as heterosexual couples or even friends, to enter into a cohabitation agreement. Typically, cohabitation agreements will set out ownership of existing assets, financial responsibilities and how assets and finances will be distributed should you split up or no longer live together.
Increasingly, fewer couples are selecting to have their relationship legally recognised by marriage or civil partnership. Therefore, entering into a cohabitation agreement is essential to ensure that you are protected. Cohabiting does not entitle you to any of the legal rights brought by marriage or civil partnership, meaning there could be issues with uncertainties should you separate or move out.
Why should we have a cohabitation agreement?
Couples who live together do not have the same legal rights as married couples or those in a civil partnership. Therefore, entering into a cohabitation agreement is a great way to find peace of mind within your relationship.
Cohabitation agreements allow you to ensure that you fully understand your own and your partner’s financial commitments whilst preventing misunderstandings or disagreements where possible regarding each of your rights and responsibilities.
Furthermore, a cohabitation agreement will help you to avoid disagreements or difficulties upon separation and should the worst happen; you will have clear evidence to support your argument should you face court.
What should be included in a cohabitation agreement?
When you initially speak to a solicitor about creating your cohabitation agreement, you will be given the opportunity to disclose information about your individual circumstances, including your finances and assets, allowing the solicitor to create a bespoke draft agreement, ready for you to take a look at before final approval.
Although no two cohabitation agreements will be the same, generally, some main elements will be considered, including:
- Property that may already be owned by either cohabitee.
You might decide that if one cohabitee owns a property, you wish for this to be kept separate, preventing the other partner from being able to claim over it.
- Property bought whilst living together.
You should consider what might happen to any jointly owned property in the event of an argument or separation, e.g., will it be sold?
- Household bills.
If one partner contributes more than another or you are not joint homeowners, consider what will happen if circumstances change.
- Wills and inheritance.
Since you are not married or in a civil partnership, there are no automatic legal rights regarding inheritance, meaning you must consider what you might want to leave to your partner if you die. Please find out more about our Wills and Estate Planning services here.
Do I need a solicitor?
Although you may think that your cohabitation agreement is relatively straightforward, it is essential for both parties to seek independent legal advice. Instructing a lawyer in this situation provides peace of mind for both parties and ensures that the agreement is legally binding and that you are in total agreement with what is included.
Your cohabitation agreement should be executed as a deed, meaning the document has been validly executed.
Solicitor for Cohabitation Agreement
For legal advice surrounding your cohabitation agreement, please contact Langley Wellington LLP Solicitors based in Gloucester and Cheltenham.
This blog post is not intended to be taken as advice or acted upon. If you are seeking legal advice, please get in touch with our team of solicitors