Living together and unmarried? Know your legal rights.
If you are a couple living together or thinking of doing so, we can advise on the law and the options should something happen to one partner, or if the relationship breaks down. Cohabitation agreements can also be made between people who are not romantically involved – for example, friends or siblings.
Here's how we can help
Peace of Mind
Our specialists can help you plan for the future should something happen to one partner or a relationship breakdown.
Safeguarding Your Investments
We can help with a cohabitation agreement for parties buying a property together but are making unequal financial contributions to the purchase price.
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You can make an agreement at any time however, just before moving in together is ideal. Our family lawyers can help prepare this agreement and make it legally binding.
How it works
A Cohabitation Agreement or Separation Agreement is a legal document that sets out what you and your partner can agree on as a relationship ends, or if one of you becomes ill or dies. This can include details of paying rent or a mortgage, childcare arrangements, and other assets. These agreements can be particularly important if the parties are buying a property together but are making unequal financial contributions to the purchase price.Get advice now
What rights do cohabitants have?
Protecting your interests, every step of the way.
Death If one of the parties dies without leaving a Will the other party may, within six months of the date of death, apply to the court for payment out of the deceased’s estate. The Court has a broad discretion about the award to be made, including the size of the estate, any benefits already received as a result of the partner’s death and any other claims there may be.
Financial Provision A party can make a claim against the other for payment of a sum of money within one year from the end of the cohabitation. For example, this may be where a party has contributed to a mortgage or other household expenses, but the property was owned by the other party, or where the claimant has had to give up work to look after a child during the period of cohabitation.
Costs of Children In addition to child support payments, a claim can be made for a one-off lump sum to assist with the financial costs of raising a child.
Frequently Asked Questions
We can help every step of the way.
Cohabitants are a couple living together as if married or civil partners. The Court has the discretion to determine whether a couple are accepted as cohabitants and will take into account matters such as the length of time the couple have lived together, the nature of the relationship and the nature and extent of any financial arrangements that are in place during that time.
Cohabiting partners should consider entering into a cohabitation agreement to formalise living arrangements. This can include details of childcare arrangements and how household bills are to be divided up. These agreements can be particularly important if the parties are buying a property together but are making unequal financial contributions to the purchase price. The agreement can record the sums each contributed to the purchase price and who will be meeting the mortgage payments and in what proportion.
Cohabiting couples or friends can benefit from putting a pre-purchase Minute of Agreement in place. This can sometimes be referred to as a Separation Agreement. This agreement can benefit:
- cohabiting couples looking to safeguard their investments when buying a home together
- friends or business partners who purchase a property together- particularly if one party invests more than the other, puts down a bigger deposit or uses inheritance to buy the property.
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