Some couples may wish to draw up a ‘cohabitation agreement’, also known as a ‘living together agreement’ to clarify their financial arrangements and ownership of any joint assets. There is no such thing as ‘common law’ husband or wife so if you separate and disagree about how to divide joint assets the court will deal with the matter in a very different way than if you were married.
The Court considers the strict legal position and what your intentions were, not the needs of the parties or any children. Setting out your intentions before you move in together therefore can minimise the stress and cost if you do separate and need to divide assets.
We can draw up a co-habitation agreement for you for a fixed fee. In particular, if you are purchasing a property together you should consider having a trust deed drawn up that sets out how the property should be divided in the future if you sell it, this is especially important if family members are gifting or loaning monies or you are making unequal contributions to the purchase price.
If a relationship breaks down and you are not married the position can be unclear and a Court may have to make a decision about how property should be divided. The land registry will state the legal owner or owners but it may be possible to establish a beneficial interest when you have lived in your partner’s house and invested money but the property is in the other party’s name. This is a complex area of law so you do need to take legal advice.
Drawing up a ‘Living Together Agreement’ or ‘Co-Habitation Agreement’ as they are also known, before you move in together, or once you have children perhaps, can be a very useful way to set out how you envisage dividing assets and to consider what arrangements might be made between you for any children should you decide to separate.
The concept of ‘common law spouse’ is a myth. If you have not been married then your former partner has no financial obligation to you directly by virtue of you having lived together. There will be an ongoing obligation to contribute to supporting any children you have together however and there may be issues in dispute as to how property should be divided. You may be able to make a claim for a property to be transferred to your name for the benefit of the children or for a lump sum payment, to help re-house yourself and your children.
A ‘Separation Agreement’ or ‘Deed of Separation’ can be a very helpful document within which you set out the arrangements for any children, ownership of property and details of any ongoing obligations, for example if you have agreed to share the costs of school trips or uniforms or to continue paying a joint life insurance policy or medical cover to ensure that your children are protected should anything happen to one or both of you.
Thank you so very much for your expert advice and guidance over the past 3 years. As I say I just can’t believe what an amazing effect it has had on me since walking from the court yesterday! I don’t mind saying as I walked back to the car park I shed a few tears of total relief of my nightmares finally coming to an end! Life can now start again and I can look forward with so much more positivity and control of it.Mr J.S
Thank you so much for all your hard work. You have been brilliant throughout from start to finish. I'm putting the house on the market this week. Once again thank you so much.Mrs E.M
Huge, Huge thanks for all your help, support, hard work and legal advice, it has felt like a long journey from when I first sat in your office but suddenly the case is resolved. The arrival of my Decree Absolute happened to coincide with my collection of a new car so it was a monumental day and truly marked a new chapter in our lives, thank you for making that possibleMrs L.K
You were very fair with your charges and I really appreciate all your help. I can now look forward to the future and the next chapter of my life. Once again thank you so much for all your support through this long process and for your endeavours on my behalf. Best wishes and a huge hugMrs M.R
Thank you for everything you have done for me and having patience with it all, so very happy to be divorced!Mrs T.G