Protecting your assets

Modern family structures can be complicated. Everyone’s situation is different.

When moving in with your partner, you should agree between you and record in writing who is paying for what, whether it be proportions of the deposit or the mortgage repayments and, crucially, who owns the property you are purchasing and what shares you each have. This type of agreement is called a cohabitation agreement.

If life changes over time, maybe one takes on a loan for home improvements, or children come along and one person reduces their working hours, review your initial agreement. This way everything is fair and you each know where you stand. 

Sometimes when relationships break down, people can become angry or upset and the landscape changes. Your understanding of who owns what can be different from your partner’s. It can become complicated and expensive asking lawyers to start to unravel and get to the bottom of any issues. 

Agreeing at the outset and recording your agreement removes the potential for dispute and means that any assets/property can then be divided as was intended and tables cannot be turned as a result of things going wrong.

A cohabitation agreement may cover:

  • The ownership of the property
  • The ownership of personal belongings and furniture
  • Who will contribute to fees, household expenses etc. 
  • How to resolve ownership of joint accounts 
  • They may also cover financial provision for any children

Cohabitation agreements are legally binding documents enforceable by the court if it's properly executed and providing you have both been honest about your finances and each had the opportunity to obtain separate legal advice upon its terms. 

You should always speak to a family lawyer before entering a cohabitation agreement. Our team of expert family lawyers have expertise in a wide range of issues affecting unmarried families. Speak to us today.

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