Co-habitation and Agreements

Peace of mind

for you and your partner

Many people now choose to live together without any formal ties, either before marriage or a civil partnership, or for the whole duration of their relationship. If such an 'informal' relationship breaks down, the parties do not enjoy the same level of protection as married couples or those who have chosen to enter into a civil partnership. Despite this, clearly the issues can still be complex and costly litigation may ensue if it is not possible to reach agreement. It is therefore important for couples to consider regulating their relationship at the outset and certainly once the decision has been made to live together. This can be done using a cohabitation agreement. Although consideration of such a formal agreement can prove difficult, any such discussions can bring openness and maturity to the relationship.

Although Cohabitation agreements are currently not legally binding, the Courts are increasingly placing weight on the contents and, if information has been shared honestly, there is more chance that they will hold each party to their side of the bargain. Equally, if both parties have received the benefit of independent legal advice, then there should be no question as to undue pressure in entering the agreement. It is a flexible agreement and the contents can be as simple or as complex as you wish. It can include:

  • Income and expenditure responsibilities,
  • Sensible terms if one owns the home both intend to share,
  • Trust deed plans for mortgage payments,
  • Share of property; how proceeds to be split if one dies,

In addition to entering in a Cohabitation Agreement, couples should also consider preparing wills since, if one of you should die, your assets will go to your next of kin and not your partner.