If you want to start living with your Partner without getting married you should get legal advice about a Cohabitation Agreement before you do because unraveling property and financial issues if that relationship breaks down can be an extremely complicated process.
If you have not obtained legal advice about a Cohabitiation Agreement prior to living with your Partner you can still get confidential advice from us as to what your position would be in the event of your relationship breaking down and you ceasing to live together.
When you are about to move in with someone you love then being the one to start discussions as to what would happen should the relationship break down will not result in your being seen as romantic. However, giving thought to such issues at the outset is both a sensible and pragmatic way of protecting yourself for the future, particularly where
- there may be an imbalance of assets, or
- you have monies you would wish to ring fence from a previous relationship
Should things go wrong, you will have a clear idea of where you stand and be able to turn to a document setting out your intentions at the time you moved in with the other person.
A Cohabitation Agreement will mean that you each know what you are financially responsible for and entitled to – this will help to resolve a problem more amicably than would otherwise be the case.
Are Cohabitation Agreements Enforceable?
Well, not yet but the position is much the same as with Pre Nuptial Agreements – Judges are taking more account of these than ever before, especially where both Parties received independent legal advice before they signed the Agreement.
The likelihood is that in the future they will be made enforceable.
Should you enter into one? In our view, yes because resolving a dispute between Parties who have been living together will undoubtedly take longer and cost more than would be the case if an Agreement had been entered into with both Parties having been independently advised.
If you enter into a Cohabitation Agreement you will not then have the misconceptions in relation to the status and financial implications of your relationship that so many people still labour under.
For example, there is no such thing as a “common law marriage”. Living with someone for many years, and even having children together, does not mean that your relationship has any special status that will protect your position in the way you might expect – for example, it may not mean you have any claim on the house you have lived in as a family.
This means that should the relationship break down without an Agreement in place you would be reliant on Trust, Contract and Property Law to determine your respective financial positions. These are complex areas of the law often meaning that expensive Court Proceedings become the only means of achieving a resolution to your dispute.
See our Blog dealing with a 2011 Case where the issue of Cohabitee’s jointly owned property was considered by the Court.
So, before you begin living together, why not contact us and get independent advice as to what your position would be if things go wrong? We can draw up an Agreement to deal with that situation should it arise.
It makes sense, saves you money and gives you peace of mind.