Specialising in Cohabitation Agreements

Specialising in Cohabitation Agreements

There is significant difference between the legal rights you have in relation to property, finance and children depending on whether you are married or unmarried. This is also the case for same sex partnerships. Many people mistakenly believe that if they live with someone for a period that they become a “common law” spouses and obtain rights similar to those of a married couple. This is not the case.

Cohabitation and children

Unlike being a mother of a child, fathering a child does not automatically give ‘parental responsibility’. Lacking the parental responsibility for a child means that you have no legal right to play a part in the life of your own child.

If your relationship has come to an end, you will not be entitled to maintenance or any lump sum payment from your ex-partner or, but this will not be the case for any children you have together. Several issues may arise from the breakdown of your relationship which we may be able to assist with. An example may be that one party may wish to sell the property which you may own jointly whereas the other may wish to remain in the property with the children.

Property

You may be wondering what happens to a cohabiting couple’s property when a relationship comes to an end? The legal owner during the relationship will remain the legal owner. The situation can become problematic when property is purchased jointly.

How to avoid problems that may present themselves at a later date

To quote the boy-scout’s motto “Be Prepared…” If you are moving in with a partner, you should consider entering into a Cohabitation Agreement. Similar to a Pre-nuptial agreement, a Cohabitation Agreement will lay out a couple’s intentions regarding how property should be divided should the relationship end. Unlike Pre-nuptial Agreements, Cohabitation Agreements can be enforced by the courts. They are binding contracts.

Rather than viewing such an agreement has a negative approach to a developing relationship, taking these steps should be viewed as just confirming what you have already agreed formally and in writing. If the worst happens, arguments, stress and above all legal costs are minimized as both party’s intentions are clearly documented at a time when the couple are thinking objectively rather than while dealing with the inevitable emotional turmoil of a break up.

What happens to my property after my death?

If you are unmarried and you do not have a Will, then the intestacy rules will apply, and your property will be left to your immediate relations. Your cohabiting partner is likely to be left without anything. If you wish for your partner to benefit from your estate, then it is essential that you make a Will. Other than the benefit that you may or may not have conveyed to your partner through your pension scheme, your partner will not receive any benefits that would otherwise be paid to a spouse.

If you require help then our Family Solicitors will be able to assist you with your query. We will always aim to seek a solution or resolve your case / matter outside of the court. Our specialist Family Solicitors understand that family problems can prove extremely stressful and worrying, but ignoring these issues will not make them go away. If you are struggling with Family matter, please Contact us for advice from our specialist solicitors.

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