What is a cohabitation agreement?
If you’re considering moving in with your partner, it might be worth making a cohabitation agreement – even if you’re just renting.
A cohabitation agreement, sometimes called a ‘living together agreement’ is a plan that maps out the financial aspects of your relationship, and can protect you both if the relationship breaks down.
This doesn’t mean you don’t trust each other or that you’re planning to separate. But it might just clear up some of the question marks about how you would sort things out if things don’t work out.
If you and your partner aren’t married, there are very few laws protecting you in the event of a breakup. Contrary to what many people think, there is no such thing as a ‘common law marriage’ status, no matter how long you live together. So, if marriage isn’t for you, you might want to take some measures towards protecting your rights.
A cohabitation agreement is a contract you can draw up together, with the help of a Family Solicitor. It can protect you in the event of a breakup, even if things end up having to go to court.
Why you might want a cohabitation agreement
A cohabitation protects your and your partner’s financial rights, which can include your home – whether you own it or rent it – all your property, and the money you spend on bills.
If you separate without a formal agreement, you’d have to divide up your property and deal with the finances yourselves, which could be particularly difficult during a breakup. Getting all of this down on paper while you’re still happy and on good terms could save you this trouble in the future, should anything go wrong.
How do you bring it up?
When you’re in a happy relationship, planning for a breakup might seem like the worst idea in the world. However, if you feel like you want to be ready just in case, it’s important to find the right way to broach the subject with your partner.
Let your partner know your reasons for wanting to set up an agreement. Make sure they understand that you want it to be a joint decision to protect both of you.
It might help to think of it like buying insurance. A cohabitation agreement can protect you if one of you dies, or if you break up. You’re not planning any of that to happen, you’re just giving yourself one less thing to worry about if it does.
Essentially, it’s a way of solidifying your financial rights without getting married, and it might just give you a little peace of mind as you embark on the adventure of living together.
You can talk to any Family Solicitor about this. In the first instance, you might want to give our partners at Co-op Legal Services a call for a free initial consultation.