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Cohabitation Agreements

Cohabitation Agreements

A cohabitation agreement is a legal agreement for a couple who have chosen to live together but are not married or in a civil partnership and protects their assets should the relationship break down at a later stage.

Why do you need a Cohabitation Agreement?

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:

  • How the mortgage and other household expenses are to be paid, by whom and in what proportions
  • What should happen if a co-owner wants to sell the property and realise their investment and the other does not
  • The arrangements for one party to buy the other's share
  • How and when the property is to be sold and costs of this are met
  • Ownership of joint and separate property, if cohabitation comes to an end
  • Financial support between cohabitees during and after cohabitation ends
  • The living arrangements and financial provision to be made for the parties' children, if cohabitation ends
  • Pets (a subject which can be very difficult to deal with at the time of separation).

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.

How can we help?

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.

Mary McEvoy
Partner and Head of Divorce and Family Law and Notary Public
Beth Woodward
Partner - Divorce and Family Law
Layla Qureshi
Trainee Solicitor
Iain MacAskill
Solicitor - Family Law