Cohabitation Agreements

Cohabitation Agreements

A Living Together or Cohabitation Agreement is a legally binding document entered into by both of you to regulate your affairs in relation to money, property, and can also cover children issues, during the time that you are living together and can also deal with what will happen if you split up.
 

How is a Cohabitation Agreement put together?

Each of you needs an independent solicitor but the negotiations and discussions are conducted in a friendly and non-hostile way.  Negotiations can either be dealt with through correspondence or at roundtable face to face meetings with each of you and your solicitors present.  Agreements can also be put together via the Collaborative Family Law process in which negotiations take place face to face.


What are the benefits of a Cohabitation Agreement?

 The Agreement provides certainty.   Unlike divorce proceedings, a court cannot revise any ownership, right of occupation or any other aspect, at the time of breakdown. You need to make your arrangements at the outset.
You should consider:
 
  • Who will have what shares in relation to any property which you are going to live in together;
  • Who will be paying the various outgoings and in what proportion;
  • Who will own any items or contents bought for the property or other assets;

Difficult though it is, you ought to give some thought to what happens should the relationship break down and a separation takes place.  It can govern such matters as the operation and closure of any joint accounts and deal with any joint liabilities. One of you might buy the other out, rather than having to sell. You might provide for this to be paid for over a period of time, if the property market picks up for example.

Although you will want to review such an agreement on the birth of children, you should think very early on about who might be the main carer for the children, or will you both scale down your jobs to share the care.  You might want to think about housing in this context too.


What if we are already living together?

 As long as both of you are willing to enter into an agreement it doesn’t matter if you are already living together.  Living Together/Cohabitation Agreements can be negotiated and entered into at any time during cohabitation.


What are the risks if I do not have a Cohabitation Agreement?

There are many situations that can arise if a Cohabitation Agreement is not in place, these can include:-
  • Confusion and misunderstanding;
  • Hostility and expensive legal arguments in the event of separation;
  • Expensive and protracted legal proceedings or protracted negotiations;
  • Uncertainty and risk should matters not be settled and the Court needs to intervene;
  • Believing that you may have rights that you do not, or not realising that a claim might be brought against you or against your property.


How much will a Cohabitation Agreement cost?

The costs of putting together a Living Together/Cohabitation Agreement will vary depending on the complexity of the assets and issues involved and also the time spent in negotiating the terms of the agreement.  Our family solicitors will be able to provide you with an estimate once they have discussed matters with you, face to face at an initial meeting.



Will I have to make a financial disclosure of my financial position?

Yes, in order for a Living Together/Cohabitation Agreement to be effective both of you should make a disclosure of your financial position.  In many cases this is known to your partner anyway.


How do I move things forward?

You can search for one of our family solicitors and contact them direct or alternatively you can telephone us free of charge on 0333 2070 601 or complete the the enquiry form on the right hand side of this page.
All our solicitors will be able to provide you with clear and concise advice on preparing a cohabitation agreement for you.
 

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