Cohabitation and Agreements

Cohabitation is a highly complex area of law.

What is Cohabitation?

Cohabitation is an arrangement where two people who are not married live together without formally registering their relation as a marriage (often called ‘common-law’ marriage). It is important to understand that common law marriage is not recognised by the Court.

Cohabitation is a highly complex area of law and you may only have limited rights if your relationship breaks down. We can provide the expert help you need both before cohabitation and afterwards.

Cohabitation Agreements

A cohabitation agreement is a contract that spells out the legal relationship between an unmarried cohabiting couple. It establishes a contractual basis for the couple’s rights and obligations, many of which are provided to married couples by law. A cohabitation agreement can provide for more specific rights or obligations than the law provides, allowing a cohabiting couple to tailor the agreement to their relationship.

What can you put in a Cohabitation Agreement?

A cohabitation agreement, unlike the laws of marriage, can be flexible and specifically tailored to your own specific situation. It can cover only one area such as purchasing a house or a number of areas including:

  • Property distribution when the relationship ends or one party dies
  • Financial support during the relationship or when it ends
  • How the debts of each party will be paid
  • Division of the couple’s home when the relationship ends or one party dies
  • The right to act as a guardian if one partner is incapacitated
  • The right to make emergency, or even routine, medical decisions for the other party

Whether you are about to move in together or you are already in cohabitation our team can advise you of your options and the type of items you should include in a Cohabitation Agreement. A Cohabitation Agreement will make it clear for both parties what will be expected of them should the relationship break down. This could save thousands of pounds in legal fees in the future.

Our divorce, family and child law team is here to help.

If you are considering cohabiting please call our Family Law team and we can advise you on your options. We have offices throughout Yorkshire, Teesside and County Durham. We can talk on the phone or arrange a meeting where we can discuss your options and give you a clear idea of timeframes and costs.

Alternatively, please contact us online and we’ll call you back when it’s convenient for you.