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Family Law

Cohabitation Rights & Agreements Solihull

When buying a property as an unmarried couple, you should always take steps to protect yourself in the event of a relationship breakdown.

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An increasing number of couples are choosing cohabitation over marriage or a civil partnership. If you purchase property together, you could run into trouble should you decide to separate. A cohabitation agreement provides clarity and oversight.

We work with unmarried couples to reach cohabitation agreements that protect both parties. A cohabitation agreement is essential for unmarried couples who have purchased property together. Although the terms of the property deed provide some protection, a cohabitation agreement will extend beyond attribution of ownership. This type of agreement is drawn up by a family solicitor and agreed by both parties. In the event of a breakdown of the relationship, a cohabitation agreement provides protection and a path forward for separating your assets.

Cohabitation rights and agreements explained

Unmarried couples may live together and share financial responsibility for things like mortgages, debts and estate planning. If one partner dies without a will in place, the surviving partner will have no claim over their estate unless they co-owned property. A cohabitation agreement can ensure rights and protections in the event of death or the end of a relationship. The Pearcelegal family solicitors team can provide support with cohabitation agreements covering:

  • Property

  • Assets

  • Shared debt

  • Shared bank accounts

  • Savings

If you are planning to get married or enter into a civil partnership in future, a cohabitation agreement could lead the way for a prenuptial agreement.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need a cohabitation agreement?

A cohabitation agreement will protect your rights and ensure that your relationship is recognised. Without a marriage or civil partnership, cohabiting couples have no automatic rights. A cohabitation agreement will help to avoid disputes in the event your relationship breaks down, or one party passes away.

Are cohabitation agreements legally enforceable?

Provided the agreement is drafted and executed properly, it is a legally binding contract. When preparing this document, it is important for both parties to be honest about their finances and to seek legal advice before signing anything.

What should a cohabitation agreement include?

What you include in your cohabitation agreement will depend on your personal circumstances. In general, you should include property, household expenses contributions, joint debts and accounts and property purchased together. This may be updated as your circumstances change.

What rights does a cohabiting partner have?

Without a marriage, civil partnership or cohabitation agreement, cohabiting couples do not have any automatic rights. There is no such thing as a common law marriage, so if one party passes away without a will, the surviving party would not have an automatic claim to the property.

Our specialists in Cohabitation Rights & Agreements

Nicholas Thomas

Managing Director and Head of Department for Family and Litigation

Stephanie Howard

Associate Solicitor

Hannah Smith

Assistant Solicitor

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