Cohabitation Disputes and Cohabitation Agreements

Cohabitation

Cohabitation is on the rise in England and Wales as many couples are choosing to live together without getting married or entering into a civil partnership.  Many people who live together do not realise that there is no such thing as a “common-law husband” or “common-law wife” even if they have lived together for many years. There is still a high proportion of people who live together who believe that they have similar rights to couples who are married or in a civil partnership.  Whilst there has been a Law Commission Report recommending changes to legislation so as to provide more protection and legal rights to cohabiting couples, the Law Commission’s recommendations have not been accepted.  What this means is that couples who live together have no legal obligations towards each other simply by the fact that they live together, no matter how long they have lived together.

When a relationship between unmarried partners end, whether because of a breakdown in their relationship or a death, the couple are treated by the law as two unrelated couples.  Therefore, upon the end of a relationship, each person retains assets they have acquired in their sole names and takes out of the relationship property which they brought into the relationship.  If you and your partner decide to live together, it is important to take independent legal advice.  The law relating to cohabitation is very complex; therefore, it is important to consider entering into a cohabitation agreement, which can assist the couple in the event their relationship breaks down.  A cohabitation agreement is a written agreement setting out the couples intentions insofar as the ownership of any property is concerned or how they wish to pay their monthly mortgage or monthly outgoings.

If you are buying a property with your partner, it is important to seek independent legal advice before you complete the purchase.  There are several ways you can own a property with your partner to reflect the contribution you have both made towards the property.  Paul Davies, who is head of our property department can offer you advice prior to you purchasing a property and can assist you with the legal process of purchasing your property.  If one party contributes more towards the purchase than the other, Paul may suggest that a trust deed is drawn up documenting your individual contributions towards the property.  Both Oi-Yuyn Wong are Resolution accredited specialists in cohabitation disputes and are able to advise and assist you on these matters.

If you would like to discuss cohabitation or cohabitation agreements in more depth, please contact Oi-Yuyn Wong on 01329 232314 or by email on info@awdlaw.co.uk.

If you are considering buying a property and need to speak to a property lawyer, please contact Paul Davies on 01329 232314 or by email on paul@awdlaw.co.uk

 

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