Cohabitation Agreements

Married couples and civil partners get legal protections that unmarried couples don’t automatically get. So, couples who live together but aren’t in a civil partnership should consider making a cohabitation agreement to protect their financial interests.

Financial security, whatever the future holds

Everyone dreams of a fairy tale ending, but relationships don’t always last forever. Even the strongest of couples should think about what might happen if they break up. Who gets what? Who lives where? Who carries on paying the bills? A cohabitation agreement is a legal document you can make to set out all your financial and co-parenting matters in case you decide to go your separate ways.

At WSP Solicitors, we provide a friendly, welcoming service for people looking to make a cohabitation agreement with their partner. Whether you’re planning to move in together for the first time, or you’ve lived together for a while, we can provide practical advice about answering questions like:

  • Who owns what in your relationship?
  • How do you intend to divide your money, belongings and debts if you break up?
  • How will you co-parent your children if you break up?

We know that entering into a legal contract is not the most romantic way to spice up your relationship. But it could save you a lot of trouble and distress down the line.

Speak to our cohabitation agreement solicitors in Gloucestershire

For expert help in making a cohabitation agreement, please contact your local WSP branch in Gloucester or Stroud today.

If you have a quick question or would like to request a callback, you can also use our quick online enquiry form.

How our cohabitation solicitors can help you

Preliminary advice about making a cohabitation agreement

You will likely have a lot of questions about what making a cohabitation agreement entails and the impact it could have on your life and relationship.

Our cohabitation lawyers can provide all the advice you need to confidently enter into a cohabitation agreement with your partner. We will explain fully how making an agreement will affect you, what is likely to happen if you break up with your partner, and how to enforce a cohabitation agreement if you need to.

After receiving your advice, you will be able to make an informed decision about whether to move forward with making a cohabitation agreement.

Negotiating your cohabitation agreement

We can help you negotiate and agree the terms of your cohabitation agreement with your partner. We will make sure that your interests are fully protected and that the agreement covers all the issues it needs to, leaving no stone unturned.

Advice on a cohabitation agreement your partner has asked you to sign

It is vital that you and your partner seek independent legal advice from different lawyers when entering into a cohabitation agreement. If your partner has presented you with a cohabitation agreement to sign, we can provide you with advice about the terms and whether it would adequately protect your interests.

We can also help you renegotiate terms in an open, amicable way, reducing the risk of any discontent arising between you and your partner.

Advice on applying a cohabitation agreement upon relationship breakdown

If you and your partner have broken up, we can provide legal advice about applying your cohabitation agreement and representation during any cohabitation disputes.

Our expertise covers a wide range of areas, from disagreements over property to resolving parenting disputes involving your children.

Cohabitation agreement FAQs

What is a cohabitation agreement?

Unmarried couples can regulate the terms of their cohabitation by entering into a cohabitation agreement (also known as a cohabitation contract or living together agreement). Your cohabitation agreement can ensure clarity both during the relationship and should it break down.

Don’t unmarried couples have ‘common law marriage’ rights?

Common law marriage is a myth in England and Wales. Even if you live together for many years, you do not acquire common law marriage rights to your partner’s money or property. There have been many sad court cases over the years where couples have broken up after decades together only for one partner to find out that they have no right to stay in their home or even to carry on running a business they set up with their partner.

Sometimes, you can acquire property rights after a breakup (for example, by making a TOLATA claim), but it takes a long time, and you have to go through expensive and stressful court proceedings that have no guarantee of a positive outcome.

Unmarried couples can protect their financial interests by making a cohabitation agreement and other types of legal documents. For example, if you buy a property together, it is a good idea to make a Deed of Trust (a document that sets out what proportions you own your home in). You should also think about making a Will; otherwise, your partner may be unable to inherit your assets if you die.

Our cohabitation solicitors can provide advice about all the options you have to protect yourself and your family.

What can a cohabitation agreement cover?

Cohabitation agreements mainly address financial matters and how they should be dealt with if you break up, for example:

  • How responsibility for payment of household expenses, such as the mortgage, rent and household bills, should be divided.
  • How things like property and assets brought into the relationship or acquired during it should be dealt with, including bank accounts, contents and personal possessions, cars, debts and so on.

Cohabitation agreements can also be used to set out intended co-parenting arrangements for your children, such as which parent they will live with most of the time and how much contact they should have with their other parent.

Are cohabitation agreements legally binding?

If you and your partner are both upfront and honest about your financial resources and you seek independent legal advice, your cohabitation agreement will likely hold weight in court.

Do you need a solicitor to make a cohabitation agreement?

It is important to seek legal advice when making a cohabitation agreement with your partner. We will make sure that the final agreement suits your needs and covers everything you want it to. Having had legal advice will also make the document more convincing in the eyes of the court (if it ever comes to that).

Can we advise both you and your partner?

No, your partner will need to seek their own independent legal advice.

Can you make a cohabitation agreement with your friend or housemate?

Yes, cohabitation agreements are for people who want to regulate their co-living situations.

For example, if you’re moving in with a friend, you will probably bring your own belongings, but you might also buy furniture together, pool money for food and bills, and may even share pets. A cohabitation agreement can make sure you are both on the same page about who owns what and what should happen if one of you moves out.

Speak to our cohabitation agreement solicitors in Gloucestershire

For expert help in making a cohabitation agreement, please contact your local WSP branch in Gloucester or Stroud today.

If you have a quick question or would like to request a callback, you can also use our quick online enquiry form.


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