In England and Wales, unmarried couples who choose to separate have no specific legal rights. Unless the couple enters into a formal and legally recognised agreement, one member of the couple could walk away with nothing.
This is where cohabitation agreements can be useful. Cohabitation agreements are legally-binding contracts entered into by two consenting adults, who wish to be recognised as a couple, but would prefer not to enter into a marriage or civil partnership.
At Aristone Solicitors, we provide expert legal advice and representation on all matters pertaining to cohabitation. Whether interested in entering into a cohabitation agreement or simply looking to establish your rights, we’d be delighted to offer you an obligation-free consultation. Call today to speak to a member of our legal team.
What is a Cohabitation Agreement?
Sometimes referred to as a living together agreement, a cohabitation agreement is a legally-binding document that specifies how you and your partner will handle your finances, both as a couple and in the event that you separate. It’s possible to enter into a cohabitation agreement at any time – you do not necessarily have to be at the start of a new relationship.
Typical financial matters that may be included in a cohabitation agreement include how each partner will contribute to mortgage or rent payments, how the property and other assets will be divided in the case of separation and who has access to which bank accounts and savings etc. A cohabitation has the potential to strengthen and improve a relationship, by alleviating some of the uncertainty and potential disputes that may arise if you choose to separate in the future.
In addition, a cohabitation agreement can eliminate the need for involving the courts at a later date. As you’ve already agreed to your financial obligations and entitlement, there is typically no need to involve the courts. This can streamline and simplify separation proceedings, should you choose to part ways for any reason.
What Can a Cohabitation Agreement Cover?
Every cohabitation agreement is different and can be used to specify a wide range of financial obligations, contributions, entitlements and so on. A typical cohabitation agreement will cover such issues as:
- How each partner contributes to mortgage or rent payments
- How each partner pays their share of everyday household bills
- Each partner’s responsibility regarding loans and other debts
- Access to bank accounts and existing/future savings
- How items and assets would be split in the event of separation
- Nomination of beneficiaries for pensions/Life Insurance
- Each partner’s agreed contribution to child support/maintenance
Your cohabitation agreement will be tailored to meet the requirements and preferences of you and your partner. For more information or to discuss the potential benefits of a cohabitation agreement, contact a member of the team at Aristone Solicitors today.
Can a Cohabitation Agreement Be Enforced in Court?
Unless there are any major errors or omissions in the contract, the courts in England and Wales will usually enforce a cohabitation agreement during the separation process. It’s possible to nullify a cohabitation agreement at any time, though only with the express consent of both parties.
It is therefore important to ensure that you are happy with every aspect of the cohabitation agreement, before adding your signature to the document.
Book your obligation-free initial consultation with Aristone Solicitors today to discuss cohabitation agreements and general family law in more detail.