More couples are choosing to live together rather than marrying. However, in the event of a relationship breakdown, cohabiting couples do not have the same legal rights as couples who are married or in a civil partnership, regardless of how long they have been together.
For example, unmarried couples who live together are not entitled to ask for maintenance from each other. It can therefore be a huge risk to move in with a partner without taking specialist legal advice first.
Living Together Agreement
Betteridges can help you draw up a living together agreement (also known as a cohabitation agreement). Although not legally binding, it can help you and your partner establish some practical guidelines on important matters in a calm, fair way, rather than during the stress and emotion of any subsequent relationship breakdown. These might include:
- Finances (including day to day finances such as bill paying)
- How you deal with bank accounts, debts and joint purchases (i.e. a car)
- How property is held
- Who owns what and in what proportion
- Arrangements for children, including maintenance and contact
Getting a specialist family lawyer such as Betteridges involved will ensure that your agreement is drafted properly to full legal effect, and flag up any important issues you may have overlooked.
For couples planning on living together, we would also advise that you both make a Will. If one of you passes away, cohabiting partners are not recognised unless they are specifically stated as being an inheritor in a Will. For more information, visit our Wills section.
If you are cohabiting with your partner without a living together agreement and your relationship has broken down, we are here to help. We have advised many clients in a similar situation on the best course of action, providing straight-talking, practical guidance and support.