A cohabitation agreement is a legal document drawn up between a couple who live together but are not married or in a civil partnership. The purpose of the document is to allow the couple to agree what would happen in the event their relationship breaks down, or one of the couple passes away.
Whilst there are laws in place which protect married individuals or those in a civil partnership, the position is different for those who simply live together. If you are living with your partner without being married or in a civil partnership, you may not have the same rights as individuals in a marriage or civil partnership would. This means you could be asked to move out if you lived with your partner and the relationship broke down or your partner passed away.
It is possible to argue you have an interest in property that you live in if you can prove you have contributed to it, but this can be difficult. Disputes may also arise about how to divide things bought jointly and how to deal with parenting of children of the relationship. Alternatively, these issues can potentially be avoided at what is inevitably a difficult time if you prepare a cohabitation agreement. Our family law solicitors can assist you prepare a cohabitation agreement.
The agreement will need to be carefully drafted to ensure it is enforceable and binding upon the parties. There are a number of ways to do this including by creation of a deed of trust where appropriate to deal with your interest in any property. If carefully drafted by an experienced family lawyer, the agreement should be binding consequently reducing the uncertainties in the event of a relationship breakdown.