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Cohabitation – What is it? Understand Your Rights…

As of January 2020, there was approximately 3 million cohabiting families in the UK and it is likely that these numbers will increase over the coming years. Lifestyles have changed and cohabitating has become more common. These days buying your first house does not necessarily come after getting married.

Whilst cohabitation is increasing in popularity, it is important for a couple to understand their rights.

So, what is cohabitation? It is living with someone who is not your spouse. This is different to living with friends, although a cohabitation agreement could still apply.

Cohabitation does mean you have fewer rights than if you were married and if the relationship breaks down. You could face real problems if your name is not on the title deeds to where you live. Just because you lived together for a long time, it does not give you an automatic right to the property, a share in its value or a share of the sale proceeds, if sold.

Cohabitation issues in the case of separation or death, can be complicated. For example, if one partner dies, the other could be unprotected as there is no such thing as Common Law Marriage so all assets will either remain with the ex-partner or with their estate. To avoid such complications, which can be costly, a cohabitation agreement is important.

It can set out how the finances are shared whilst a couple is lives together or what happens if one becomes ill, dies or they split up.

It can cover a wide range of issues. It can cover:

  1. Finances whilst living together or in the event of death or separation.
  2. Who pays the rent, mortgage and/or household bills,
  3. What happens to the joint bank account or pensions?
  4. It can deal with property and any contents and what happens to them.

It can also deal with a wide variety of other issues.

Disputes between unmarried couples can be costly and the law is complicated. The best approach to avoid any unnecessary costs is to ensure you have the correct legal advice and this is where Rubin Lewis O’Brien can help you. Please do not hesitate to Hannah Davies for a chat. Please telephone 01633 867000 or email Hannah.Davies@rlo.law.

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