Cohabitation refers to couples who live together without marrying.
As the law does not afford the same protection to cohabiting couples, there are a number of things which should be taken into consideration when setting up home outside of marriage.
You should consider:
• Whether the home should be held as joint tenants or tenants in common, and how the parties’ contributions to the purchase price can be protected
• Whether a life insurance policy should be taken out
• Whether the parties need to make a Will and, if so, what provisions should be made for each other. Under the intestacy rules unmarried partners will not inherit upon the other’s death, and so this is an important thing to consider
• What is to happen if the relationship should breakdown
Legal position regarding children
The legal position regarding any children will also be affected by the fact the parents are not married. For more information on this point, please see Parental Responsibility.
As there are a number of important issues to be considered before cohabiting with a partner, and to avoid any disputes later on, we recommend that the parties enter into what is known as a ‘Cohabitation Agreement’.
A cohabitation agreement sets out arrangements to apply both whilst the parties are living together and on the breakdown of the relationship.
As long as the agreement complies with the general principles of contract law, it is likely to be upheld in the event of any dispute between the parties.
Cohabitation agreements usually cover issues such as:
• How any real or personal property is to be held
• Financial considerations such as how payment of the bills is to be shared and how money in any joint accounts should be divided on separation
• Arrangements for any children, for example the payment of any maintenance and what surname they should use
• Any other personal matters such as division of household chores
Let us help
If you have any questions regarding cohabitation or cohabitation agreements, or wish to book an appointment, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our family law team who will be happy to help.
Parental Responsibility (Family Law)
Pre-nuptial Agreements (Family Law)
This article is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute technical, financial, legal advice or any other type of professional advice and is no substitute for specific advice based on your individual circumstances. We do not accept responsibility or liability for any actions taken based on the information in this article. For more information, please click here.