Cohabiting Couples – Overview

The law relating to the division of capital assets for unmarried couples is completely different to the type of orders that can be made upon the dissolution of a marriage or a civil partnership. There is a misconception about the ‘common law spouse’. Parties that have been living together, particularly for a long period of time, believe that they have the same legal rights as a married couple upon their relationship breakdown. This is not the case.

There are a number of issues that can arise when a relationship breaks down and this includes disputes in relation to property, possessions, pensions, maintenance and provisions in relation to children.

Cohabitation Agreement

A Cohabitation Agreement is an agreement for unmarried partners that sets out who owns what and in what proportion. It records how you will split your property, its contents, personal belongings, savings and other assets should the relationship break down.

It can cover how you will support your children, over and above any legal requirement to maintain them, as well as how you would deal with bank accounts, debts, and joint purchases such as a car.

The Agreement can also be used to clarify how co-habiting couples will manage day to day finances whilst they are together.

To protect themselves both parties should take advice at the beginning of their relationship and consider entering into a Cohabitation Agreement. The Agreement will ensure that both parties are aware of their entitlement should the relationship breakdown.

Our guide offers further information. Alternatively, contact one of our solicitors. Our solicitors can meet you virtually or at any of our offices to talk about your situation. Contact us today to arrange an appointment.

Download Unmarried Couples Guide