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Unmarried couples in England and Wales have few legal rights if they separate. A cohabitation agreement helps people in committed relationships protect their interests if the relationship ends.
Despite popular belief, “common law marriage” does not exist and hasn’t for centuries. Cohabitation agreements are legally binding documents that couples living together (but who are not married or in a civil partnership) can use to make clear how they intend to manage their finances whilst they live together and what will happen if their relationship breaks down. A written agreement can prevent a great deal of unpleasantness, stress and cost by avoiding arguments in the first place.
The family team at Mills & Reeve have an unrivalled reputation for understanding what matters to our clients and for combining technical expertise with clear advice and excellent client service.
A cohabitation agreement (also known as a relationship agreement or a living together agreement) records the agreed arrangements for people who live together (it doesn’t always have to be a couple in a relationship!). They are legally binding if they are entered into properly so specialist legal advice is a must. With the number of couples now cohabiting in the UK rising, cohabitation agreements are becoming increasingly popular.
Cohabitation agreements typically set out how you intend to manage your finances whilst you live together and provide certainty about how you will divide your finances if you were to split-up. A written agreement can prevent a great deal of emotional and financial cost and avoids arguments in the first place. However, cohabitation agreements are very flexible and can cover everything from who pays the rent to who does the household chores!
Although each cohabitation agreement is different, there are a few key points you should always think about.
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