Currently in the United Kingdom there is little protection for couples who live together without being married. Despite this fact, many people still believe in the enduring myth of the “common law marriage”. There is actually no such thing, and for this reason, regardless of how long a couple live together, there are no automatic rights for cohabitees on separation. For example, a separated partner cannot claim a share of a partner’s pension or make a claim for maintenance. There is, however, scope in certain circumstances for claims to be made in relation to the property in which a couple lived. For this reason couples often choose to clearly establish the parameters of how the property in which they live is legally owned, opting to draft a cohabitation agreement.
Prior to cohabitation
It is key to receive the right advice prior to commencing cohabitation. Moving in with your partner is a big step, but by seeking out sound advice from a qualified solicitor when a decision to live together has been taken, you are allowing for all available options to be explored.
Here at Maguire Family Law we view a couple deciding to move in together, as couples embarking on an exciting phase in their lives. Our experience is that by engaging in sound financial planning at the outset, and openly discussing finances as soon as a couple have moved towards cohabitation, relationships can often become stronger.
Drafting a cohabitation agreement may not be viewed as the most romantic thing a couple can do together, but by communicating intention and engaging in the process together couples are often empowered, and importantly if the worst was to happen and a relationship breaks down, each party’s interest in a property has been clearly established. It is also the case that an agreement can establish what will happen to individuals personal property owned both jointly and separately.
Cohabitation Agreements are often used to fill the void created by the limited legal protection available to cohabiting couples. When entered into properly, cohabitation agreements should be formed by a court and therefore engaging the services of an experienced family lawyer is essential. The experienced solicitors here at Maguire Family Law will ensure that any agreement that we draft on your behalf affords you the maximum possible protection.
Getting in touch with our expert family team will allow you to consider all of your options as a couple, and allow us to create your own bespoke agreement, offering you the confidence to move forward with your future lives together.