Family Law

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Moving in together is a major milestone in any relationship. However, it is important to consider the opportunity of putting together a Cohabitation Agreement.

This document sets out what would happen in the event that the parties involved choose to end cohabitation. As such, it is commonly said that this sort of agreement is much like a prenup, although it is important to note that the same does not require you to be married (or even a couple, for that matter).

Given that the law in England and Wales does not recognise couples living together as a legal partnership, parties involved in cohabitation tend not to have rights in the event of a break up. This is an important reason why a Cohabitation Agreement might help you establish legal rights ahead of time that you might not otherwise have.

Frequently asked questions

Cohabitation Agreements are also known as cohabitation deeds, cohabitation contracts or living together agreements. It refers to the record of the arrangement between two or more individuals who have chosen to live together.

Such a contract establishes the rights and responsibilities that each party has regarding the property they inhabit or intent to inhabit. As such, the agreement should detail, for instance, any financial arrangements between the parties throughout the cohabitation as well as any division of joint assets after the cohabitation ends. It can also be used to record any personal property that the cohabitants may have used while living together, but which will be retained by a sole party at the end of such cohabitation.

Cohabitation Agreements are designed for people living together, either as a couple or otherwise.

Nevertheless, it is mostly used by those who do not wish to formalise their relationship by way of a marriage or civil partnership but do wish to cohabit. It can be implemented before or after the parties have started cohabiting.

A few circumstances could lead to the termination of a Cohabitation Agreement, such as:

  • The written agreement and consent of both parties
  • The marriage or civil partnership of the parties to each other
  • The marriage of one of the parties to a third party
  • The death of either party
  • The serving of a notice by either party that they wish to terminate the agreement

Cohabitation Agreements are often carried out more like a deed than a contract, which means that it should not fail for mere fact of lack of consideration (the legal name for payment). They can also include a declaration of trust. This serves as a record of the parties’ interest in any property they own together and needs to be declared in writing.

At Grayfords, our solicitors can draft a Cohabitation Agreement that is tailored to your specific needs and the circumstances of your relationship.

The agreement aims to protect both you and your partner by setting out how you wish to deal with joint assets or finances in the event of a break up. It might also establish provisions that should be made for any children involved. If you are not married, it is able to set out how assets will be divided and help you avoid lengthy legal disagreements.

Moreover, if your relationship ends up changing, in the event that both parties agree, changes can also be made to your Cohabitation Agreement.

Cohabitation Agreements are designed around your relationship, which includes making some of your current financial arrangements binding, when possible, in order to give you some security.

Whether you and your cohabitant prefer to keep your finances separate or in joint fashion, a Cohabitation Agreement allows you to build your life together mindfully and safely.

Cohabitation Agreements protect children should there ever be a separation. It does so by setting out the ways in which your children should be provided for, in the event of separation. Knowing that, no matter what happens in your relationship, your child’s future has been planned for, will likely give you unparalleled peace of mind.

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