Want to secure your share of the house without marriage? A brief guide to cohabitation agreements

Want to secure your share of the house without marriage? A brief guide to cohabitation agreements

Once considered the ultimate way to show devotion to your partner, but in recent years, wedding numbers have dropped somewhat in the UK.

Alongside religious practices becoming less common, fewer couples feel the need to tie the knot. While there is nothing wrong with this, it does leave a few unanswered questions surrounding areas that are typically protected by saying ‘I do.’ For instance, if you and your cohabitating partner split and have a savings account, who is entitled to the money? What about any shared property?

What’s the solution? If you are less than keen on undertaking a wedding, then is there a way to ensure you get what you are entitled to in the event of a split?  Many family solicitors in Emsworth will be able to offer you and your partner peace of mind, by offering to draw up a legally binding document, known as a cohabitation agreement.

What does a cohabitation agreement look like? Is it on par with a wedding certificate or prenuptial agreement? Read on to find out!

What is a cohabitation agreement?

Used to clarify financial division and other aspects of ownership/entitlement to assets, a cohabitation agreement is a document drawn up by your family solicitor, to ensure that you get what you deserve in the event of a split.

In many ways, it is similar to a pre or postnuptial agreement in its legality, however, unlike these marital agreements, a cohabitation agreement can also apply to family members who jointly own the same property.

How do I get a cohabitation agreement?

Firstly, you need to find suitable family solicitors from Emsworth, who specialises in the drawing up of cohabitation agreements.

This legal professional will need to know the history of your relationship, any shared assets, details of earnings, if you have any children and if you jointly own a home. If you do, they will also need to know the estimated value of the property at the time of writing the agreement.

Can a cohabitation agreement help in any other areas?

Yes, it can.

By drawing up such a document, you can also cover the division of assets post-separation. So, if you and your partner do have children, you may want to choose which one of you stays in the shared home to raise your children. Similarly, it may also be wise to cover other ancillary matters, such as division of utility bills, mortgage payments, insurance, and other household expenditures.

It may also be wise to have consequences of failing to adhere to the document drawn up at the same time too.

If my partner passes away, do I get immediate access to the home?

In a word, no.

A common misconception that is held by many couples is entitlement to a shared property once one of them passes. However, if you don’t have a cohabitation agreement or your partner did not specify such things in their will, then you may have to contact a probate solicitor for more advice.