Choosing to live with another person outside of marriage or a civil partnership does not afford you any special legal protection should you go your separate ways. However, there are steps you can take to protect your position, including but not limited to signing a Cohabitation Agreement.

The Cohabitation Agreement formalises financial responsibilities and duties to ensure both parties' financial positions are protected. If a relationship breaks down and a properly drafted cohabitation agreement is in place, both parties will be able to rely on the protection offered by the agreement. You should seek legal advice about drafting an agreement to ensure that it provides the financial protection intended.

Matters included in a cohabitation agreement

We strongly recommend that you seek advice on having a cohabitation agreement prepared if you are planning to live with someone, particularly if you are buying a property or intend to have children. Cohabitation agreements can include:
  • Establishing the ownership of the home and other property
  • Establishing who pays what towards the property and the household outgoings
  • Provisions for the ongoing ownership of joint bank accounts
  • Provisions for any children whether existing or planned
  • Details on any debts of either partner in the agreement
  • Other matters if the cohabiting couple separate
Cohabitation does not come with the same property, pension or inheritance rights as marriage or civil partnership regardless of how long you live together. It is an essential part of your financial planning to obtain legal advice on the preparation of a cohabitation agreement.

Agreements before, during or after marriage or civil partnership

These agreements are similar to cohabitation agreements, both aim to protect your property and formalise your financial intentions and the responsibilities and duties that you could be bound to should you separate. Visit our dedicated pre-nuptial agreement page.
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Antony Clapp Solicitors is regulated and authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and is a member of the Law Society.
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