Cohabitation/Living Together Agreements
There is a common belief that if you live with your partner and are in a long-term relationship, you are regarded as common law ‘husband and wife.’ However, this term does not exist in law.
The rights of parties living together differ considerably to those who are married, particularly when concerning property and financial matters. Without a cohabitation agreement, you may not have any legal rights, should your relationship end.
Why a cohabitation agreement is important
Many people who live together fail to adequately protect themselves or their assets. The basic rule when a cohabitating relationship breaks down is that each party only keeps what they legally own, like if an asset is in their name or if they have proof of purchase. This is irrespective of the fact that they were in a relationship.
Therefore, it is vital to ensure that there is a formal cohabitation agreement in place. A legally-binding contract can help to show which assets belong to which party and protect their rights to that asset. For example, a cohabitee could claim a financial interest in their partner’s property or other assets. Without a formal agreement, such interests are not clearly defined. Often, they are then the source of complex and costly disputes between separating couples.
Legal advice on your cohabitation rights
If you are living together with your partner, or considering living together, it is wise to seek appropriate legal advice. It is especially important to find out more about your cohabitation rights as soon as possible if you intend to purchase property.
Major Family Law has the knowledge and experience to form a legally-binding cohabitation agreement that can protect your assets. Contact us today and receive our expert advice on cohabitation laws, plus a free consultation.
If you are already living together and plan to get married, you should also read our section on Pre-Nuptial Agreements.