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Cohabitation Agreements

Moving in with your partner is a big commitment. It is an exciting step into your future together, however, it is also important to make provisions which help to ensure everything runs smoothly if you are faced with any potential unforeseeable problems.

It is possible to put a cohabitation agreement, sometimes known as a living together agreement, in place, which sets out arrangements for your assets, such as property, savings, investments, pensions, and children should you split up, become unwell or pass away. It is, however, essential to seek legal advice and guidance from a professional Cohabitation Agreement Solicitor.

Many couples believe that if they have been living together for several years, they have similar legal rights to married couples or civil partners. The term ''common law marriage” is often used to describe this kind of relationship and the rights these couples believe they have. In fact, partners who live together but are not married or in a civil partnership do not gain any automatic rights, however long they have been together, and even when they have children together.

As specialists in Family Law, we can offer clear, pragmatic legal advice for cohabitees, supporting them in putting arrangements in place that provide clarity and certainty for the future.

When you choose to work with Goodsells Family Law for your cohabitation agreement, you will be instructing specialist solicitor Donna Goodsell, who has two decades of expertise in all types of family law matters, including cohabitation. She has worked with a wide range of clients over the years in both straightforward and complex cases.

We can support you in drafting a formal agreement or provide appropriate legal advice if your partner's solicitor has already prepared an agreement. Should you need cohabitation dispute solicitor assistance, we are able to provide expert advice. No matter your requirements, at Goodsells Family Law, as experts in Family Law, we are on hand to help.

For an initial consultation with our Cohabitation Agreement Solicitor in London and Clapham, please call 020 7622 2221, email enquiries@goodsellssolicitors.co.uk or complete our online enquiry form to request a call back.

Specialist Cohabitation Agreement advice for clients across London

Our skilled Cohabitation Agreement Solicitor can offer a variety of assistance in relation to cohabitation agreements, from tailored advice to hands on guidance. Our solicitor has expertise in matters including:

If you and your partner have made the decision to move in together or are already a cohabiting couple, it is wise to consult a solicitor for legal advice on your rights and what measures can be taken to protect your financial interests in the event the relationship breaks down.

Drafting a cohabitation agreement

Prior to drafting the agreement, we will efficiently review your circumstances, including the value of your and your partner’s individual and shared finances, your individual earnings, who is named on the property, if you have any children and any debts you might have individually or together. From this, we can draft an agreement that fully reflects this and make sure that it does not negatively impact you in the unforeseeable future.

Negotiating a cohabitation agreement

If your partner has presented you with a cohabitation agreement, seeking legal advice before signing is crucial to ensure that the agreement doesn’t financially impact you should it need to be used in the event of a relationship breakdown.

If there are sections of the cohabitation agreement that you are not happy with, as solicitors we can help you in negotiating with your partner to find an agreement that benefits you both.

Adjusting cohabitation agreements

If you are faced with a significant lifestyle change, it’s important that your cohabitation agreement is updated to reflect this. For example, if you and your partner have a child together.

As cohabitation lawyers, we can help you make amendments to your cohabitation agreement that take into account these life changes but that still favour your interests.

Excellent value for money

We are able to offer our clients fixed fees for cohabitation agreements where matters are simpler, such as providing making amendments to an already established cohabitation agreement. Fixed fees help to provide our clients with complete certainty over the costs.

Prior to carrying out any work, we will inform you of the expected costs so you can make a fully informed decision as to whether to instruct the Goodsells Family Law.

Contact our Cohabitation Agreement Solicitor in Clapham, London

No matter the type of assistance you need with your cohabitation agreement, Goodsells Family Law is here to provide Cohabitation Agreement advice in London.

For an initial consultation with our Cohabitation Agreement Solicitor in Clapham, London, please call 020 7622 2221, email enquiries@goodsellssolicitors.co.uk or complete our online enquiry form to request a call back.

Cohabitation Agreement FAQs

What is a cohabitation agreement?

A Cohabitation Agreement is a document that regulates what should happen to your assets and finances, as well as provisions for the care of any children if you and your partner separate.

A cohabitation agreement can also be used to state how your finances will be managed during the time you are together, for example, to set out the amount that you will each contribute to household bills or mortgage repayments.

Cohabitation agreements are often drawn up prior to the couple moving in together. However, it is possible for couples already living together to put a cohabitation agreement in place.

What needs to be included in a cohabitation agreement?

Cohabitation agreements can cover a wide range of matters. Examples of what is generally added into a cohabitation agreement include:

  • How each party contributes to household bills, rent, mortgage, and other financial responsibilities
  • How solely and jointly incurred debts will be paid
  • Who will keep the family pets
  • What will happen to the family home
  • Where children will live, how much contact each parent will have and child maintenance

What are the benefits of having a cohabitation agreement?

The absence of automatic legal rights to property and assets, maintenance payments, or access to a partner’s pension can create serious problems for cohabiting couples if they separate, become seriously ill, or pass away.

When there is no formal agreement in place, the standard legal processes for determining how assets are treated will be followed. In the case of spouses and civil partners, there are legal provisions that set out how assets will be shared – but there are no equivalent provisions for cohabiting couples.

A simple solution is for cohabitees to enter into a Cohabitation Agreement. This can then be relied upon in the future if the relationship comes to an end, avoiding unnecessary stress and drawn-out and costly legal proceedings.

Cohabitation Agreements provide a range of benefits for couples who live together. You can choose to put in place provisions so that a wealthier partner will provide maintenance payments if the relationship ends or state what will happen to specific assets. This could mean that one partner will be entitled to continue living in the family home or that the property will be sold and the profits shared.

Are cohabitation agreements legally binding?

Cohabitation Agreements are not automatically legally binding. However, the courts will usually adhere to the terms of any agreement if it is properly drafted and fair to both partners. Both parties are required to fully declare all of their finances and must have received independent legal advice before they can sign a Cohabitation Agreement.

Contact our Family Law Solicitor in Clapham, London

For specialist legal advice on preparing a Cohabitation Agreement, call Goodsells Family Law on 020 7622 2221 or complete our online enquiry form.