Not every couple decides to get married. You may still own property or assets together though while you are living together and if you were to separate, you may not agree how these assets are to be divided. In addition, you may have property or assets which you may want to keep separate and protect for the future.
We are increasingly advising our clients to enter into cohabitation agreements, as they show a clear intention of how the finances will be dealt with during the relationship and after. We hope the latter will not be necessary, but unfortunately it is best to cater for every eventuality. They are like pre-nuptial agreements, but for cohabitants.
Many unmarried couples live with the assumption that if they have cohabited for a number of years they have similar legal rights to those couples that are married. This myth is normally referred to as ‘common law wife or husband’. This is not the case and the courts will not take into account the length of time you have lived together or even if one of the parties has contributed to the household by raising children and being responsible for the running of the family home. If disputes arise between cohabiting couples – couples who are partners who live together but are not married or part of a Civil Partnership – we can give you practical guidance and advice.
Cohabitation disputes can arise not only with couples but also between friends or family members who have purchased property together. If you need help with a cohabitation dispute, please get in touch with us.