A cohabitation agreement for unmarried partners is where couples who live together but are unmarried set up an arrangement to protect their rights.
This can cover all sorts of things, like what share of the property each party is entitled to, what happens if the relationship ends, and who is responsible for paying bills or the mortgage.
Both you and your partner should seek legal advice for it to be a legal agreement. Having independent legal advice means that the court is more likely to take the agreement seriously if you and your cohabiting partner separate.
A recent study has found that 35% of cohabiting couples think they have the same rights as married couples – going as far as to refer to their cohabitee as their common law wife/husband. However, this is not the case and it is not a legally recognised term.
In order for the law to recognise a Cohabitation Agreement it must be:
- Executed as a deed
- Entered freely and voluntarily by both parties
- Signed by each party
If the court is not satisfied that these conditions have been met, it has the discretion to overrule the agreement and make an order itself.
A cohabitation agreement is not only advisable to save the cost and distress of later dispute but also because it is flexible. Parties do not need the courts approval to change terms of a cohabitation agreement.
A well drafted cohabitation agreement could be a cost-effective measure to ensure all parties are in a better position to receive what they consider to be fair should it become necessary.
At Aston Bond we will be pleased to prepare a Cohabitation Agreement for you.
Please contact Lynette A’Court Head of Family on 01753 486 023 for further enquiries.