Overview of our Cohabitation Agreement Services
As a society it has become much more common for parties to live together outside of marriage. Many such couples however, make the mistake of believing that because they live together, they are automatically entitled to the same legal protection as married couples. In fact, in England and Wales, there is no legal recognition of the “common law” husband or wife. This leaves many couples being unwittingly, and irreparably exposed in the event of relationship breakdown.
If you prefer being safe in the knowledge that the terms upon which you live together are agreed and that, should your relationship breakdown, you have a clearly defined agreement in place which states who owns what and how it should be divided, our experienced and friendly family team can help you.
A well prepared Cohabitation Agreement can mean areas of potential dispute on separation are reduced or eliminated altogether. Such an agreement can give you the security and peace of mind that your finances, property and assets are protected and can reduce conflict and further upset as well as saving you the cost of expensive financial proceedings.
What is a Cohabitation Agreement?
A Cohabitation Agreement regulates the terms upon which you live together and addresses what happens in the event that the relationship should end.
A Cohabitation Agreement will generally deal with:-
- Who owns (and owes) what at the time of the agreement, and in what proportions;
- What financial arrangements have you decided to make while you are living together; and
- How property, assets and income should be divided if you should split up.
Preparing the Cohabitation Agreement:
We will encourage you to agree the terms with your partner, either through a referral to mediation or the use of a Collaborative Law model. Our team of family specialists will advise you on the most appropriate route to agreeing the terms of a Cohabitation Agreement.
Common Legal terms explained:
Joint Tenancy – joint tenants are two people who have an equal interest in the same property. In the event that one party dies, the property will belong to the other named person on the tenancy, and this would override any conflicting instruction in the deceased’s Will – this is called the right of survivorship.
Tenants in Common – tenants in common can have different levels of ownership of a property, no right of survivorship applies and, in the event that one party dies, the terms of the Will or intestacy are followed.
Legal Ownership – legal ownership can be used to describe any possession for which an ownership document has been created (e.g. property, land, a car, shares in a company, and so on). Whoever is named on the ownership document are the legal owners of the named possession.
How do Cohabitation Agreements work?
A Cohabitation Agreement can be referred to in the event that your relationship breaks down and a dispute over possessions and/or finances occurs. Should the dispute go to court, the Agreement, providing it is properly drawn up, the terms are reasonable, and each of you has had separate, independent legal advice on its effect, will most likely be upheld.