It is a misconception that couples can rely on a ‘common law marriage’ to protect their financial interests when cohabiting.
If you are buying a property with your partner it is a good idea to agree at the outset whether you will own the property in equal or unequal shares, and which contributions you will make to the purchase price, mortgage and ongoing costs of running and improving the property. This can be incorporated into a Cohabitation Agreement.
It can protect your property interests but it is a much wider agreement than a Declaration of Trust and can govern other issues such as:
A Cohabitation agreement can be entered into at any time during a relationship, pre or post cohabitation. As with all legal agreements, careful drafting is needed to ensure that parties’ intentions are easily interpreted.
You may find our case study on Unmarried Couples and Property Disputes helpful. This case study illustrates some of the issues that can arise if an agreement is not put in place.
If you have been cohabiting with your partner and are separating and need assistance with a claim or alternatively would like Neves to draw up an agreement to protect you and your partner's financial interests then please get in touch with the Family Department.