Co-habitation and Relationship Breakdown
We can help you decide how best to resolve cohabitation issues and assist you in recording any agreements reached.
The law provides little legal protection for cohabitees who are not married or in a civil partnership when they separate.
A Cohabitation Agreement (also known as a Living Together Agreement) can record any financial commitments that cohabitees wish to make to each other. A properly prepared agreement can help to avoid, in the event of relationship breakdown, Court proceedings about the ownership of property. Such proceedings are not only stressful and costly but the outcome of a court case is never certain and a Cohabitation Agreement can minimise the risk of such a claim being made.
Couples are often unaware that “common law husband” and “common law wife” are not legally recognised terms and the financial provision that can be made by the court for cohabitees is much more limited than for husbands and wives. In particular, cohabitees cannot claim income payments, except on behalf of children and cannot seek a pension sharing order in respect of their cohabitees pension.
The outcome of a court case is never certain and a Cohabitation Agreement can minimise the risk of such a claim being made.
If, however, a person dies in England and Wales and they were living with another person for more than two years before they passed away, then the person they were living with can make a claim against their estate. A Cohabitation Agreement can deal with what provision, if any, should be made out of the assets of the first to pass away. By entering into such an agreement you can have certainty as to what provision will be made and avoid the stress and emotional implications of your partner making a claim against other family members who may inherit your estate after you have passed away.
If you would like to discuss whether a Cohabitation Agreement is right for you, or if you are separating and need to resolve financial issues between you contact us without delay. We can help you decide how best to resolve any issues that may arise. This can be done directly between you and your partner, via mediation, by negotiation between solicitors or through the collaborative process. If an agreement cannot be reached we have considerable experience of attending Court to represent clients in Court proceedings and preparing the necessary documentation to put your best case forward.
If you are taking the first steps towards moving in together you may find our article Top Tips for Cohabiting Couples useful.