Co-Habitation Agreements: Letting You Take Control

Married couples are afforded a certain amount of protection through the UK legal system. They are automatically entitled to a certain amount of their spouse’s assets if their spouse dies without leaving a will as well as being entitled to a fair settlement if the marriage should ever come to an end.

For couples who choose to live together but not get married, there isn’t any automatic protection. Though you may live with your long term partner, have a house that you both pay the mortgage for, and bank accounts which you both pay into, if you separate there is no legal protection in place to ensure that you both get what you deserve. In extreme circumstances this can mean that one partner gets the majority of the shared assets, leaving the other severely short changed. The services of a specialist cohabitation agreement solicitor is advised.

Cohabitation Agreements in the UK

Cohabitation agreements are designed to give unmarried couples some of the financial protection that married couples in the UK enjoy. The cohabitation agreement is a legally binding contract in the UK and allows couples to stipulate the financial terms of the cohabitation before they enter too deeply into it.

A cohabitation agreement might include who is to retain the property that you live in, how your money will be divided, and whether there should be any monetary compensation if the relationship breaks down.

The strength that cohabitation agreements in the UK have has led to many claiming that they can actually offer unmarried couples more legal protection than couples that choose to marry. These claims centre on the current strength that cohabitation agreements have in the UK courts compared to the prenuptial agreement. Though it is something that’s quickly shifting, the cohabitation agreement is currently a legally binding contract, the prenuptial agreement is not.

For married couples this means that they are still subject to the discretion of the courts when it comes to dividing their worldly possession and assets. Cohabiting, unmarried couples who have drawn up a cohabitation agreement, in contrast, will retain whatever assets they have previously agreed.

Should You Have A Cohabitation Agreement?

If you are living with a long term partner and you have no intention of marrying in the near future, it may be worth you drawing up a co-habitation agreement. If you do decide that a co-habitation agreement is something you want to draw up, you should always make sure it is legally watertight. By using specialist divorce solicitors you are able to ensure that whatever agreements you make with your partner will stand up in court should it all go wrong.

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