How does a cohabitation agreement work?

21 February 2019
A cohabitation agreement helps to clearly outline your individual rights in case of separation.
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A cohabitation agreement helps to clearly outline your individual rights in case of separation. 

Research shows that one in four couples living together believe they have the same legal protection as a marriage or civil partnership, but that’s not necessarily the case.

For non-married couples, a legally-binding agreement is imperative.  Without it, you could be left without any assets or find yourself in a long, costly dispute should the worst happen.

Why you need a legal agreement

Without an agreement in place, technically, your partner could leave you with a mortgage and bills to pay if the property is solely in your name. Similarly, you could be left without a home entirely. 

Clarifying who owns what percent of your property, and any other assets, will help you to manage your expectations and responsibilities should you decide to separate. That way, you know what you’re expected to pay, or not pay in many cases, which will eradicate some of the stress involved.

What happens if cohabitants get married?

If you decide to get married, you can then enter into a matrimonial agreement. Usually, this agreement will incorporate the same terms of your cohabitation agreement. But, with a matrimonial agreement, you declare how you will divide your assets in case of divorce. 

There are two types of agreement: a pre-nuptial agreement (prenup), which you sign before getting married, and a post-nuptial agreement (postnup), which is what most married couples have in place.

If you’re ready to put a cohabitation agreement or matrimonial agreement in place as you enter a new chapter, please contact us to arrange a complimentary consultation.