Looking for legal protection?
It is a scary thought that if you aren’t married or in a civil partnership you may have few or no legal rights. Most cohabiting couples don’t realise that until it is too late; after they have separated. A cohabitation agreement or living together agreement can you give legal protection and peace of mind. Partners, Louise Halford and Robin Charrot have substantial experience in cohabitation agreements and the Evolve Family Law team has the legal expertise to support you with your living together agreement.
Looking for peace of mind?
If you don’t have a cohabitation agreement and you separate from your partner a judge may have to decide if you have an interest in the family home and, if so, how much you and your partner should receive out of the sale proceeds. A cohabitation agreement gives peace of mind so you and your partner both know your legal rights as cohabitees.
Protection with a personal touch
Without a cohabitation agreement you don’t have legal protection if you are in an unmarried relationship. That’s because the law treats cohabitees differently. That may not be fair but it’s a fact of life. That’s why you need a cohabitation agreement suited to your circumstances and prepared by a family law solicitor who listens and delivers an agreement with a personal touch so you know your cohabitation agreement is right for you.
Why choose the family law solicitors at Evolve Family Law?
Louise Halford and Robin Charrot founded Evolve Family Law. They are expert family law solicitors committed to making complicated family law simple with specialist legal advice delivered with a personal touch, tailored to your needs. Robin and Louise believe it’s better to be proactive and have a family law agreement in place rather than risk ending up with nothing when you come out of a cohabiting relationship.
Cohabitation Agreements – Your Questions Answered
Cohabitation agreements and living together agreements are needed in a number of different scenarios and not just when an unmarried couple buy a house together.
Who needs a cohabitation agreement or living together agreement?
Anyone who is unmarried and:-
- Owns a house with their partner or plans to buy a home jointly with their partner
- Owns a house in their name but lives with a partner or intends to do so
- Lives in a house owned by a family member or by a trust fund under an agreement or licence
- Owns other property with an unmarried partner or allows their partner to use the property, for example, a car or holiday home
- Shares their finances with an unmarried partner, for example, use of a joint bank account or joint loan or one partner taking out a loan to pay for a family item.
What goes into cohabitation agreements and living together agreements?
The agreement can be as detailed or as brief as you want but the agreement should be tailored to your circumstances. Living together agreements can cover:-
- Who legally owns and who beneficially owns the house – the legal owner or owners can be different to the beneficial owners
- What happens if one or both of you carries out work to the property or pays builders to renovate it
- Who pays the mortgage and the utility bills
- How you fund and operate a joint bank account
- If you split up who will stay in the family home
- How will the equity in the house will be independently calculated and split between you
- How you will sort out any debt or loans
- How you will sort out any joint bank accounts or other investments
- How you will sort out other items, for example, a car that you may have both paid towards.
I own the family home, so why do I need a cohabitation or living together agreement?
If you legally own a house with your name on the title deeds to the property a non-owning cohabiting partner can make a financial claim over the property if you split up, even if their name isn’t on the legal paperwork. That’s why it is important there is a cohabitation agreement or living together agreement in place so you both know where you stand.
Before our marriage we signed a cohabitation agreement. Is the cohabitation agreement still effective?
A cohabitation agreement or living together agreement isn’t likely to be effective after marriage unless it was agreed that the document would combine as a prenuptial agreement made in contemplation of marriage. If you are married and have a cohabitation agreement in place you could consider a postnuptial agreement – this is like a prenuptial agreement but signed after the marriage.
When a couple get married, a husband or wife are able to bring wide ranging claims against assets owned by their spouse. The Court has a lot of discretion over a divorce settlement. The law is very different if you are making a claim over a property as an unmarried partner. That’s why it is best to get expert family law advice so you know your rights and where you stand legally.
We don’t have a cohabitation or living together agreement. Where do I stand with the house?
The answer depends on who legally and beneficially owns the house and a range of other factors. Even if you have jointly owned a house with a partner for some time you can still enter into a cohabitation agreement or living together agreement if you both want to do so. The agreement will protect both of your interests and record the agreement reached over the house if you separate. With a cohabitation agreement you minimise the risk of protracted and expensive Court proceedings if you separate.
We have a cohabitation agreement but circumstances have changed.
It is always sensible to review cohabitation agreements and living together agreements when major events occur, such as the decision to extend or renovate a property, one partner wanting to pay off the mortgage because of the receipt of an inheritance, a gift from parents, or an advance from trustees, and a whole range of other reasons. When reviewing a cohabitation agreement it is also important to think about if your will or power of attorney needs changing.
Evolve family law solicitors can help with the preparation or the review of an existing cohabitation or living together agreement and guide you through your options.