Living together / relationship agreements

When moving in with your partner, the possibility of that relationship ending is rarely contemplated. However, as there are currently no specific laws that govern the distribution of the assets of unmarried couples who are living together upon separation, many seek to protect themselves from the uncertainty of separation by entering into a “co-habitation agreement”.

A cohabitation agreement, also known as a ‘living together agreement’ records the arrangement between persons who have agreed to live together. It registers each party’s rights and responsibilities whilst they are living together and also provides for what happens if that relationship comes to an end. They are famously unromantic documents but can be important tools in clarifying the intentions of both parties and removing any uncertainty about how property (in particular) will be dealt with if the parties later separate.

Co-habitation agreements can regulate a wide range of issues that arise from living together including:

  1. Whether the property you live in will be owned by only one party or held jointly;
  2. If the property you live in is held jointly, in what percentages each of the parties will own the property;
  3. Who pays the monthly household bills (including for example a mortgage);
  4. Who will retain certain assets at the end of the relationship (even if both parties have use of the assets when living together);

Co-habitation agreements can be particularly useful where one party owns a property that the other intends to move into, or where the parties intend to purchase a property together. The agreement can record each party’s ownership in the property, for example by stating that the parties own the property jointly or that it is not the parties’ intention that living together will afford one party an interest in the property at all.

Provisions can also be included to determine how the property will be dealt with upon the parties’ separation, such as including a provision that the property will be sold and the sale proceeds are divided between the parties, or that one party is afforded the opportunity to buy the other out. It can also deal with administrative issues like who pays the costs of the sale of the property.

We are experienced at preparing co-habitation agreements in accordance with your requirements and are alive to the sensitive issues they present. We can create a bespoke co-habitation agreement for you which focuses on clarifying and resolving the issues that are most important to you in your particular relationship and circumstances.

We offer advice on:
  • The preparation of cohabitation agreements;
  • The enforceability of cohabitation agreements.

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