Cohabitation: The Best Way To Test A Relationship?

Moving in with a partner is a big step in any relationship. Whether or not there are children involved, it is vital to ensure you are considering the impact of the move not only on a personal and emotional level, but also both legally and financially.

1. How are you going to share the finances?

It may seem obvious, but ensure that you sit down and discuss how you intend to split the rent and the bills before moving in with your partner. Research carried out by leading relationships charities, revealed that money worries came top of the list when it came to relationship strains experienced by UK couples.

Ensuring that you are both in agreement about who will be paying what, before you pack up any of your belongings, will set you off on the best start.

2. What do your finances look like now?

Is one of you in debt? Does your partner owe money on credit cards? Ironing out or planning how to resolve financial issues before making the move is essential.

3. What are your long term goals?

Talk through everything from whether you would like children to where you see yourself living in five years. Make sure you are both on the same page. Of course, there is always an element of compromise in any successful relationship but making sure that you both have the same life goals now can save a great deal of heartache in the future.

4. Moving in with your partner: do you know your legal rights?

Contrary to popular belief, ‘common law marriage’ does not exist in England and Wales. In other words, moving in together will not automatically enable you to gain the same legal rights as a married couple. This means that if you and your partner separate, you will not be able to rely on divorce law to resolve any issues.

For example, unlike married couples or civil partners, you will not be able to claim maintenance or a share of your partner’s capital assets.

This is the case even if you have lived together for many years.

5. Should you sign a cohabitation agreement before moving in with your partner?

A cohabitation agreement is a legal document which can set out who owns what (including the property) and how any savings and jointly-owned assets should be distributed if your relationship breaks down in the future.

It can cover everything from how the household bills will be divided to what share of the mortgage or rent each party will pay.

Should you and your partner part ways in the future, having a cohabitation agreement in place can be invaluable.

It is vital that a cohabitation agreement is property executed in order for it to be enforceable by the court. Book your free consultation with one of our experienced family solicitors today to find out whether a cohabitation agreement could be right for you and your partner.

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