Do I Need A Cohabitation Agreement?
As a divorce solicitor, I tend to see property purchases when they go wrong so, in my view, yes it is very sensible to sign up to a cohabitation agreement . Most people think that getting a cohabitation agreement drawn up is a negative step as it assumes that there may be a separation and that the couple might either want to sell the property or transfer it into one of their names. Knowing how expensive it can be to resolve property claims when cohabiters split up and go to court over the family home I think that, in this day and age, a cohabitation agreement is just as necessary as having life insurance policy in place or a will.
When do you need a cohabitation agreement?
Most people who are thinking about a cohabitation agreement believe that you only need a cohabitation agreement if you are buying a family home with a partner. That’s not the case. You need a cohabitation agreement in a range of different circumstances such as:
- Buying a house in your sole name but your partner intends to live with you at the house;
- You own a house and your partner intends to move in with you ;
- You jointly own a house with your partner but personal or financial circumstances are changing , for example you have inherited some money and intend to pay the mortgage off with your inheritance;
- You are going to jointly buy a property with your partner or already have done so but you are putting different amounts of money down as the deposit or one of you is getting money from family to pay the deposit or one of you will be paying more of the mortgage and household bills.
There are many other reasons why a couple may need a cohabitation agreement. That is why, if you are thinking of buying a property or you have formed a new relationship it is sensible to ask the question ‘do I need a cohabitation agreement?’
If I don’t have a cohabitation agreement is the house half mine?
No, not necessarily. It all depends on how the house was legally purchased (was the family home bought as joint tenants or tenants in common) and what your intentions were. Not having an agreement written down can result in expensive court proceedings if one partner decides they want to claim half the house when they didn’t pay half towards the deposit or if one partner wants more than half the equity in the family home because they paid for the extension or for the new bathroom. A cohabitation agreement can cover who gets what percentage of equity in the house if it has to be sold and a bespoke agreement can also cater for one partner paying for renovations or paying off the mortgage.
How do I know what to put in a cohabitation agreement?
The short answer is that you don’t until you know what your options are. That is why it pays for an expert Manchester family solicitor to talk to you about your options and to prepare a bespoke cohabitation agreement for you. Most people assume that a cohabitation agreement has to be a standard document but it can be created to meet your relationship and property needs and be as straightforward or as complicated as you want to make it.
What happens if things change and we have signed a cohabitation agreement?
If you have signed a cohabitation agreement and something happens, for example, you inherit money, win the lottery or get a big pay rise or are made redundant the cohabitation agreement can be reviewed if necessary.
What is next?
If you think you may need a cohabitation agreement pick up the phone for a chat about your requirements. Often people are surprised at just how easy it is to chat to an expert family solicitor and get a bespoke cohabitation agreement to give them and their partner peace of mind.