Cohabitation – where people are living with their partner but not married or in a civil partnership – is the fastest growing family type in the UK, yet there is little or no protection for couples should they separate unless they have a properly constructed cohabitation agreement.
The myth that there is such a thing as 'common law' marriage still prevails among many of the UK’s adult population. There is no 'common law' or other legal status governing those who live together but do not marry or enter into a civil partnership. The truth is that it is possible to live together with someone for years and even to have children together, and then walk away without any responsibility for your former partner's welfare.
It is therefore important if you are cohabiting to make sure you protect your position by entering into a Cohabitation Agreement. If you are intending to cohabit, a Cohabitation Agreement should ideally be drawn up as soon as possible.
The myth that there is such a thing as 'common law' marriage still prevails among many of the UK’s adult population.
The main area of conflict tends to revolve around the ownership of property.
The Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 makes provision for dispute resolution where two cohabitees cannot agree whether the house should be sold or not and also for a declaration in respect of the extent of each cohabitee’s interests:
- The intention of the parties
- The purpose of the joint purchase
- The welfare of any children
- The interests of any secured creditor (e.g. a mortgagee)
The law dealing with financial disputes between couples who live together, but are not married, is complex. If you need further advice in this area contact our Dispute Resolution department, who will be happy to help.
We Work With You
If you need further advice on Cohabitation Agreements one of our Family Law Solicitors would be happy to help. Contact us now or call into your local office.