In our modern society, more and more couples are living together before marriage or choose not to get married at all.
Unfortunately, cohabiting couples are not afforded the same or even similar legal protection as married couples and it’s therefore important to plan for any future bumps in the road.
Cohabitation agreements can assist couples in amicably deciding how property should be divided if the relationship breaks down.
What is a Cohabitation agreement?
The cohabitation agreement is a form of legal agreement reached between couples who have chosen to live together. In some ways, such a couple may be treated like a married couple, such as when applying for a mortgage or working out child support. However, in some other areas, such as property rights, pensions and inheritance, they are treated differently.
Why a cohabitation agreement is essential for non-married couples?
Unmarried couples have no legal rights if they separate – so without an agreement, one of them could be left with nothing.
The unfortunate truth is that relationships can go wrong. In the event of separation, unmarried couples have very little legal protection. Cohabitation agreements set out what should happen in the event of separation. In this way, they can help to significantly reduce the costs of dealing with separation in terms of time, stress and money during what can be a difficult time.
Content of cohabitation agreement
A cohabitation agreement can consist of the following (but its total couple’s decision which of these, and other, matters that they would like to cover)
- Who owns your home, the shares in which you own it and the amount that you each contributed;
- who will pay bills such as the mortgage, utilities, house maintenance and renovation work, food and general living costs and the effect, if any, such payments will have on ownership of the property;
- If there are any endowment policies or other savings or investments, who is going to pay for those and how they will distribute on separation;
- Who is going to pay for any life insurance policies and how these are going to distribute on separation;
- if there is a joint bank account, how much will you each contribute to it and what will happen to it on separation;
- Whether you will nominate each other for death in service benefits for your pensions, if any;
- If you wish to make preparations to cover death than these should be confirmed through a will;
- You can deal with personal belongings by establishing out who owns which particular item and who will pay and own future items
- If either of you has received or expect to get gifts or inheritances, the agreement can refer to those and make preparations as to their future ownership;
- If parents lend money to assist with a house purchase, who will be responsible for repaying the loan.
Contact us for legal advice regarding Cohabitation Agreements
If you would like advice or assistance in relation to cohabitation agreements contact one of our solicitors on 01206 500181