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Cohabitation Agreement

If you live with your partner but are not married, or are planning on moving in together, you may want to consider a cohabitation agreement.

Unlike married couples, where there is a legal procedure in place when the relationship breaks down, unmarried couples have no such protection. Our family law solicitors, based in Lichfield and Cannock, Staffordshire, can help you draft an agreement that sets out your rights and what would happen if you should break up – giving you both peace of mind.

A cohabitation agreement can be made during any point in your relationship. It is advisable, when you are planning to move in together, to have an agreement drawn up giving you both security for the future. Similarly, it is useful for long-term cohabiting partners who want to make an agreement that helps protect the assets they have built up together.

Your agreement can cover anything, including:

  • how you will buy and own your property
  • responsibility for children during or after your relationship
  • financial arrangements, for example, joint accounts
  • pension sharing
  • inheritance and wills – what you will leave for each other
  • how you resolve disagreements

On separation, cohabitating couples can face difficulties in determining what their share of the property is, and whether it can be sold. Without a formal agreement, sometimes the only option is to seek a declaration from the court as to each person’s interest in the property. The court will consider each person’s contribution to the purchase or their intentions, either at the time that the property was purchased, or subsequently.

If you have children, an application can be made under the Children Act 1989 for the house to be sold only when the children have grown up or for a lump sum to buy an alternative property to live in with the children. Usually, the property has to be given back when the children are adults.

If you are thinking of moving in with your partner, or if you live together and are thinking of separating, then it is a good idea to get legal advice from a family solicitor as soon as possible.

At Ansons Solicitors, in Cannock and Lichfield,  can help you create an agreement that helps protect your assets, secure your future, and avoids problems in the future. Contact Jacqueline Dugard in our family law team in Staffordshire on 01543 267 190 or jdugard@ansonssolicitors.com.

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