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Living together

If you live with your partner, or are planning to, our expert family lawyers can help you set out the ground rules in a cohabitation agreement.

When you move in with your partner, the two of you might need to discuss how you’ll organise your finances and plan for future eventualities.

You may wish to consider entering into a cohabitation agreement. This can set out how you both intend to manage financial matters – both during your relationship and if it were to break down in the future. It can also, as part of your wider financial planning, set out your intentions if you were to pass away while living with your partner.

We can advise on a very wide range of issues which you may wish to consider, such as interests in property, running costs of the home, your business and other assets, and what may be best for your children if you were to separate.

Cohabitation agreements are particularly important when children are involved. If you go your separate ways, your children’s future – where they will live and who will support them – should be clear.

We draft bespoke agreements, so we’ll take the time to discuss your requirements and prepare an agreement which addresses your needs and concerns. We’ll explain your options clearly and carefully throughout, with our jargon-free advice.

We advise on a host of issues including interests in property and business, as well as what might be best for your children. If you’d like to discuss this further with us, please get in touch.

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Frequently asked questions

We strongly recommend that you enter into a cohabitation agreement if your partner moves in with you or vice versa. This will set out clearly how you will manage the financial aspects of your relationship, such as maintenance of the property or payment of the bills, and will also determine what should happen to any joint finances upon separation. It is especially important if you own your own home, in order to avoid inadvertently allowing your partner to obtain an interest in the property.
If you are buying a property with your partner and are contributing different amounts to the purchase price, or will be paying different amounts to the mortgage going forward, then you need to enter into a declaration of trust. Without a declaration of trust, the court will presume that you own the property equally. If this is not your intention, then you should discuss a declaration of trust with your conveyancing solicitor and they can refer you to a colleague to discuss your options.
Cohabitation agreements are bespoke agreements so they can deal with any issues as required by you and your partner. By way of example, they can cover the following:
  • Who will own the property you live in
  • Who will pay the rent or mortgage
  • Who will pay the bills, and in what proportions
  • Who will own the contents of the property
  • What contributions will be made towards the upbringing of your children
  • What provision should be made for the children if you were to separate
  • What will happen to the property if one of you were to pass away
A cohabitation agreement cannot, however, replace a will and we have colleagues who can advise you about your will.
A cohabitation agreement is a type of contract between you and your partner. Whilst financial disclosure is not essential, we recommend that you do provide a certain level to your partner, as this will inform their understanding of the cohabitation agreement and its terms. However, we can discuss your options with you and structure any disclosure with your objectives and concerns in mind.

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If you have a question or need advice, please let us know how we can help.