One of the most common myths in English law is that there is such a thing as ‘common law marriage’. The current law which applies to unmarried couples who separate, is different to that relevant to marriage or civil partnerships.
If you are considering entering into a cohabiting relationship it is possible protect both parties from the potential costs of a lengthy and protracted dispute about property and assets, by entering in to a Cohabitation Agreement. This is a contract, between two people who live together, which sets out their agreement on the division of their combined assets, and other matters, in the event that the relationship breaks down or one partner dies.
A Cohabitation Agreement is a wise precaution for the future and you can enter into a Cohabitation Agreement at any time during your relationship. The cost of a properly drafted Cohabitation Agreement is a fraction of what you may spend on lawyers negotiating the maze of litigation if despite your hopes, your relationship does not last.
If your relationship has recently broken down it is important that you have specialist advice as soon as possible in relation to arrangements in respect of the division of your property and arrangements for your children.
This is a complex area of the law as there is often a correlation between financial claims for children and ownership of property. We can guide you thought this process and advise in respect of the likely approach that will be followed by the court in the event that any dispute cannot be settled amicably by consent.
If marriage is not an option, you may wish to consider the following:
Cohabitation Agreement – this agreement would set out your agreed intentions for matters like arrangements for children, property, and finances, in the event that the relationship breaks down. A cohabitation agreement may cover anything from how to support a partner who gave up a career to care for children, to who gets your pet.
Declaration of Trust – Setting out how and in what shares you wish to own a property; a declaration of trust can also cover your intentions in the event of separation. If you purchase a property together but do not contribute equal shares, it can, for example, ensure each partner gets a fair portion of what they have put into the property.
Will – Unless it is noted in a Will, you will not automatically be entitled to inherit their share of possessions/property if your partner dies. Even if you have cohabited in a joint property for decades, without your name on the property’s deed or being named as the beneficiary within a will, you could lose your home and any rights to the proceeds of a sale thereof.
Please contact us on 0208 974 7490 or email@example.com to arrange an initial consultation to discuss the best way forward for you and we will provide you with further and specific advice tailored to your circumstances.