Increasingly couples choose to cohabit as a step towards marriage or as a permanent alternative. Many people believe that after a period of time sharing a home they gain legal rights through common law marriage. In fact, the concept of common law marriage was abolished over two centuries ago! Cohabitees may share their lives for many years and they may have children together. Despite this, on separation there is no automatic sharing of property or assets and ordinary trust law applies. The law in this area has not kept pace with changes in society and legal disputes between former cohabitees are both expensive and uncertain in outcome.
A Living Together Agreement or Cohabitation Agreement is a contract that can be drawn up either before or during the cohabitation. You can include a wide range of matters in the Agreement, which cover the things that are important to you and to your partner. It can deal with financial matters, how property is held and how disputes may be settled. The advantage of having a formal Agreement like this is that it makes both of you consider, before there is any dispute, your expectations of the relationship and how you would handle the situation if you separated. Such Agreements are not binding on the Courts but provided you and your partner have created the Agreement freely and voluntarily, in full knowledge of each other’s financial and other circumstances and after each taking independent legal advice then there is a good chance that the Courts would uphold the terms of the Agreement.
Provided that there are no very substantial or overseas assets involved and you and your partner agree on the content, we can prepare a Living Together Agreement for you at a Fixed Fee of £350.00 plus vat. If your situation is more complicated, then please contact us for a discussion and quotation.