It is never nice entering into a relationship thinking about what happens if it breaks down, but sometimes it makes sense to plan ahead. Unmarried couples have no rights against the other, so do not put yourself in a position where you could leave a relationship with nothing, when it could be avoided.
Cohabitation agreements are becoming increasingly popular now, as less people are willing to take the plunge and marry. These agreements cater for various eventualities and simply means that everyone knows what they are getting themselves into without any surprises later.
I advise clients to be as thorough as possible when entering into these agreements. Include provision about who pays the mortgage and other outgoings each month, include which items belong to who and what happens to them if the relationship breaks down and definitely state who will have what shares in the property where you live. Where applicable, we can include child arrangements into the agreement, so should the relationship breakdown, each parent knows their continuing responsibility towards that child, financially and in respect of care.
Obviously it is better to be as open and honest when discussing these issues. It means the cohabitation agreement will be worth the paper it is written on and will not result in an early breakdown of the relationship.
I advise clients to exchange documents showing all assets and income, including pensions, property, savings and liabilities. Each of you should take independent legal advice before completing the agreement. I can assist with every step of the process, from exchange of documents to completion.
Once negotiations have taken place the agreement will be recorded and signed. There is then a legally binding document which you have both entered into.
Don’t be a fool to love and speak to me about a cohabitation agreement. It is a safety net you hopefully will not need.
Should you need any advice on cohabitation agreements please call me on 02476 531532.
About the author
Melanie Davis (née Timms) is a family law solicitor at Brindley Twist Tafft & James in Coventry. She is widely known for her experience in child and divorce cases. Originally qualified as a barrister, Melanie has excellent advocacy, negotiation and communication skills and enjoys fighting for her clients at court in all areas of family law.