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Cohabitation and Property

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We can help you legally plan when moving in with your partner, or in the event that your relationship has broken down

Living together: Cohabitation Agreements 

Cohabitation agreements may not seem terribly romantic but overlooking them can have consequences.

We can help you clearly set out arrangements to deal with property ownership, financial contributions and household contents.

Our Family Law team can ensure that a Cohabitation Agreement can be tailored to your specific circumstances and deals with what should happen if the relationship breaks down. If you are buying a property together you also need to consider how that ownership will be recorded at the Land Registry to show your entitlement to a share of any equity. We can advise on all of the options available to you.

What is a cohabitation agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is an agreement between partners who live together and want to ensure clarity both during the course of the relationship and in the event that it should break down. This generally covers rights in relation to property, children and assets.

Why do I need a cohabitation agreement?

You need a cohabitation agreement when you decide to live with your partner and want to ensure that both of you are clear about the ownership of assets and how bills will be paid.

A cohabitation agreement will also make it clear what happens if it’s not a ‘happy ever after’ and the relationship breaks down. In simple terms, you agree ‘who gets what’.

Without a cohabitation agreement, if there is a dispute about who owns what, it could (and probably will) result in Court proceedings….a lengthy and potentially costly and emotionally draining experience. On top of this, there’s also the chance that if you are unsuccessful in the dispute you could be required to pay for all of the legal costs of the other party.

Cohabitation agreements also make matters clear if one of you were to pass away whilst cohabiting as it helps identify exactly what belongs to each person at the time of death (therefore avoiding potential disputes as to the deceased person’s Estate).  Having a Will is also vitally important in ensuring this.

What happens to the house on separation?

If you didn’t plan ahead and you and your partner separate, many issues around the ownership of your house are likely to arise.  The law treats unmarried partners living together in a very different way to married couples…contrary to belief there is no such thing as a common law husband or wife.

What happens to the house and the determination of shares will depend on whether you jointly own the house or if it is in the sole name of one of you.  You can still have what is called a “beneficial interest” in the property, even if your name is not on the title deeds.  It can be more difficult to determine what the shares are in this scenario as there usually isn’t any written declaration.  This is why it is vial you obtain legal advice in these situations.

Usual outcomes involve one partner buying out the other or for the house to be sold and proceeds divided.  If you cannot reach agreement we can issue Court proceedings on your behalf for determination by the Court as to what your respective interests are and/or a sale of the property.   This means that you can use the money to get on with life.

Worried about the cost?

People often worry that using a solicitor means uncertainty about cost. Not with the Family Law team at Wilson Browne – we promise to inform you before we begin and to keep you informed throughout. If you instruct a member of our Family Law team, you will always be kept informed of costs in a clear and easily understandable way: it is as simple and as important as that.

Our commitment to you is that:

  • you will be given an estimate of fees in advance
  • we will not begin any work until you are happy with our estimated costs
  • we will be clear on our charges, including VAT
  • we will be transparent on any fees that any third parties may need to charge you in relation to the matter.
  • if you ask us to carry out additional work, we will tell you what this may cost.

When you contact our Family Law solicitors, you’ll be drawing on the experience and expertise of one of the most established teams in the area which offers the convenience of meeting you at one of our offices across Northamptonshire and Leicestershire in Northampton, Kettering, Corby, Higham Ferrers, Wellingborough and Leicester.

We are delighted that our Family Law team has been recognised by the Legal 500,  a Who’s Who of the legal profession.

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