The rapid increase in cohabiting couples in recent years has led to a dramatic rise in complex and costly disputes when they part company.
Unfortunately the law does not currently recognise a living-together relationship outside a marriage or civil partnership and as such there is little protection for either partner.
When married couples divorce or a civil partnership is dissolved, both parties have a right to their share of any property and assets and the court has complete discretion to take all the circumstances and history of the relationship into account when deciding what is fair.
Cohabiting couples do not have these rights, regardless of how long they have spent together or whether they have any children together. The law will treat the couple as if they are separate. This can have a devastating impact on one partner who has sacrificed their career to care for the children and thus, may not have financially contributed to the house. It will also lead to an unfair outcome where the house is in one partner’s name, but the other has contributed to the mortgage and bills.
The break-down of any relationship is a very emotional and distressing event. If you are not yet ready to get married or enter into a civil partnership, the only option to provide financial peace of mind is to draft a Cohabitation Agreement.
A Cohabitation Agreement lets you and your partner document how you will split your property, personal belongings, savings and other assets should your relationship break-down. The agreement can also set out how you will support your children and how you may deal with any debts and joint purchases such as a car.
In order for an agreement to be legally binding, both parties must have sought independent legal advice and there can be no mistakes. At Ungoed-Thomas & King we provide unrivalled experience and expertise in relation to drafting these agreements. In order to find out more, please telephone 01267 237441 to book a free 30 minute appointment with our Cohabitation and Matrimonial solicitor Mrs Nia Thomas.