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Cohabitation Agreements

Rowlinsons Cohabitation Agreements Solicitors are highly awarded specialists. Our team is on your side and by your side, and can make sure you receive legal advice that gets you the outcome you deserve.

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Cohabitation Agreements Lawyers Cheshire

When you move in together your relationship may function day to day like any married couple, but it’s important to remember, you do not have the same rights, responsibilities, or entitlements.

If you want to live with your partner without getting married or entering into a civil partnership, a cohabitation agreement protects your legal and financial interests now and in the future.

 

Cohabitation Agreements Solicitors

At Rowlinsons our friendly, highly qualified family law department has many years of experience in advising unmarried couples on preparing and writing cohabitation agreements.

Among our team, we have family solicitors trained in collaborative law, family law, and family mediation which means we’re able to handle any legal situation with sensitivity and expertise.

Whatever your circumstance we will ensure your experience is as straightforward and stress-free as possible.

For help preparing and drafting your cohabitation agreement get in touch today or arrange a call back. We also have meeting facilities in North Wales to provide a welcoming, confidential space for our family law clients.

 

What is a cohabitation agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is a legal document which allows two people living together without being married or in a civil partnership to establish their intentions for the management of personal and financial matters.

The content of the agreement depends on the individual circumstances of the couple but may include:

  • Confirm what happens to a property in the event of a separation
  • Confirm ownership of valuables, personal and sentimental items
  • Responsibilities for payment of bills and other outgoings.
  • How to split items and assets owned together in the event of separation
  • What happens to items and assets owned separately in the event of separation, for example pensions, bank accounts, businesses or properties

 

Why have a cohabitation agreement?

The law relating to separation for unmarried couples is very different to that of married couples. It can be difficult and often expensive to deal with any issues that arise for unmarried couples who separate and who haven’t entered into a written agreement before they moved in together.

If a couple breaks up it helps to have a formal document in place that sets out exactly how to deal with financial and legal matters in the event of their separation.

Unless the intent is in writing, it is impossible to say for certain if something was agreed upon especially when emotion clouds the proceedings.

A cohabitation agreement reduces ambiguity around rights, responsibilities, and entitlement when an unmarried couple breaks up.  Establishing who gets what can often be challenging and costly without the legal framework of marriage or a civil partnership.

 

When do I need a cohabitation agreement?

There is no automatic protection for unmarried couples in England and Wales so if you’re considering moving in with your partner it is wise to consider getting an agreement in place to avoid any litigation in the future and resolve arguments more quickly.

Even if you’re already living together, you can still get an agreement. You can have one created at any time during your cohabitation so it’s never too late to act responsibly.

A cohabitation agreement can protect you legally if you separate by ensuring you have formally agreed on the legal division of assets, ownership of valuables, childcare and maintenance .

The terms of the agreement are unique to you, but it’s best to get legal advice from a family solicitor to help you with the process. We can advise you on what is best in your situation and how the document should be drafted.

 

Who can enter a cohabitation agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is for any couple living together without being married who wants to establish how legal and financial matters will be dealt with in the event of separation.

It helps cohabiting couples manage their affairs and legal matters without formally entering into marriage or a civil partnership.

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When you own property together

In England and Wales if you own property together it will be shared depending on whether you are joint tenants or tenants in common. The distinction is important as it will determine how property is dealt with if you break up or one of you dies.

Joint tenants own an equal share. So, if one of you dies, the property automatically goes to the joint tenant. You can’t bestow your share to anyone else in your will.

For tenants in common, you can own different shares in the property. Your partner doesn’t own the property outright if you die and you have the right to leave your share in your will. You can own the property as tenants in common in equal or unequal shares, and you would normally specific the shares that you own the property.

If your relationship breaks down, problems could arise if someone made more financial contributions to the house, partciaurly if that is not recorded in a declaration of trust or wother formal document. This may give rise to disagreements about the equality of ownership and could result in a court battle to challenge this.

To ensure each party returns the same level of investment they put in, you can change the tenancy to tenants in common and obtain a legal document stating the division of ownership. This is known as a declaration or deed of trust, and it reflects and protects the individual shares in the property.

Wills and intestacy

Only married or civil partners can automatically inherit your estate according to the rules of intestacy.

If you die without a valid will, your estate will pass to your next of kin and that means your cohabiting partner will have no rights or entitlement to anything you own. if you want to provide for your partner after your death, having a legally binding will is essential.

At Rowlinsons we can help you prepare and write your will alongside your cohabitation agreement and any other legal documents so you can protect your personal and legal interests and those of your loved ones.

Legal protection for unmarried couples

You don’t have many legal rights as a cohabiting couple. If you do not want to get married or enter into a civil partnership putting in place a cohabitation agreement safeguards your and your partner’s interests no matter what happens.

At Rowlinsons our expert family solicitors will guide you through the process so you can prepare a legally robust cohabitation agreement to suit your needs.

Cohabitation Agreements FAQs

Do I need a cohabitation agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is a legal document between unmarried couples who plan to live together. It is often a good idea to have a cohabitation agreement in place before you move in together, but if you decide to buy a house or have children, it’s worthwhile considering one then too. 

Cohabitation agreements set out arrangements for finances, property and children while a couple live together, and what happens if you split up. They can be useful to make clear how assets are to be divided, what happens to bills and outgoings, and to protect against the risk of potential claims in the future. If your partner lives in a house that you own, it is possible they may be able to make a claim against your property in the future. If you do not want this to happen it is important to put an agreement in place to say this.

You can chat to a solicitor about a cohabitation agreement and whether it is right for you. Your solicitor can talk to you about the pros and cons of such an agreement, and help you understand whether it is something that you want to do. They can also draw up the document and make sure that it is done properly.

For more information or to speak about whether you would benefit from a cohabitation agreement, please contact Rowlinsons Solicitors and ask to speak to the Family Department.

I live in a house owned by my partner, can they kick me out of the property if we split up?

If you live in a property that is owned in the sole name of your partner, and the relationship comes to an end, you may not have an automatic legal right to remain living at the property. It may therefore be possible for your partner to stop you living at the property. There may also be risks that your partner changes the locks, sells or tenants the property, or secures a mortgage or lending against the property without your knowledge.

If you are a married couple, it may be possible to register a special notice against a property owned in your spouse’s sole name. This is called a Matrimonial Homes Notice, which is a special notice which the Land Registry puts on a property. This won’t necessarily provide you with complete protection, but it is a good idea to consider getting the notice registered as a starting point.

If you are an unmarried couple, you cannot register a Matrimonial Homes Notice, but in some situations there may be other notices or restrictions that you can register if you have potential claims relating to the property.

Whether you are married or unmarried, it might be possible to ask the Family Court to make an Order about who can live in a property temporarily, until things have been sorted out. This would be called an Occupation Order, and it determines who can live in a property, and who pays what towards the bills.

It is important to obtain independent legal advice as soon as possible if you think a property that you live in is owned in your partners sole name. For more information, or to organise a initial no obligation telephone call, please telephone Rowlinsons Solicitors and ask to speak to the Family Department.

Do I have any claims if I have put money into a house owned by my partner?

If you have contributed towards a property owned by your partner, it might be possible that you could pursue a claim. 

If you are a married couple, any claim against a property usually forms part of a financial settlement case linked to divorce proceedings. As a married couple, you may each be entitled to pursue financial settlement claims against any assets or income that each of you has. It is not necessarily essential to prove that you have made a financial contribution towards the property, and the Court can consider dividing the financial pot to achieve fairness and equality, taking into account a number of factors.

For couples who are not married, there may be possible claims against a property owned by one party where someone has made contributions. These could be contributions towards the purchase price, financial contributions towards the property itself, or in some situations other things might be used to prove a possible entitlement to a share of a property.

Pursuing any kind of financial claim for unmarried couples is not straightforward, and you would need expert legal advice from a qualified family lawyer before you take any action. For more information,  please telephone Rowlinsons Solicitors and ask to speak to the Family Department.

Contact Our Cohabitation Agreement Solicitors

The specialist team at Rowlinsons Solicitors provide expert legal advice to unmarried couples, such as drafting a cohabitation agreement. Our Cohabitation Agreement Solicitors are accredited by the Law Society, and members of their Family Law panel. We approach all cases with friendliness and professionalism.

When drafting a cohabitation agreement with your partner, it's crucial to resolve all disagreements amicably, to ensure your cohabitation begins in a relaxed environment. With our years of experience in cohabitation agreements, we can ensure both you and your partner will be satisfied and ready to begin a happy cohabitation.

Choosing Rowlinsons for your cohabitation agreement means having an expert by your side who has years of practical experience in drafting such documents. We always make your satisfaction our priority, and pride ourselves on our standards of client care.

We are consistently recognised as one of the leading Family Law Firms in Cheshire. With offices in Runcorn and Frodsham, we regularly support unmarried couples with tailored advice about cohabitation agreements across the Northwest, including St HelensChesterWarringtonWidnes, and Northwich. We are able to act for clients right across England and Wales, so contact our team today for specialist and tailored legal advice.

To find out more, please contact us for an initial no obligation call or click here for a call back. We also have meeting facilities in Colwyn Bay for Family Law clients.