If you have made the decision to live with your partner then you may also wish to consider entering to a cohabitation agreement in order to regulate the terms of your relationship. As more and more people decide to cohabit as opposed to marry, cohabitants need to be fully aware that so called ‘common law wives and husbands’ do not have the same rights as those who are legally married.
It is therefore, advisable to have a cohabitation agreement in place. You can enter into such agreement at anytime during your cohabitation. Such an agreement will normally reflect the terms of any agreement between a couple. The content of the agreement will make it clear to both parties as to what they can expect in the event that their relationship breaking down. It’s also important to consider what you would want to happen in the event to that you should pass away; in relation to which we would strongly advise you to make a Will.
If you own your own property, then you would also wish to consider whether your partner should gain an interest in that property during the period of your cohabitation. Simply by taking care of the family home and any children of the family does not mean that you have a beneficial interest in the home unlike your rights as a spouse.
Cohabitation agreements are not legally binding. However, if the right procedure is followed and the agreement is drafted correctly, then the agreement can be upheld at court, should any part of the agreement be challenged at the end of a relationship. Cohabitation agreements are usually recorded in writing for evidential purposes and executed as a deed rather than a simple contract.
If you require further advice in respect of cohabitation agreements or any other matrimonial law related matter then please contact our family law specialist solicitor. Satvinder Sokhal on 020 8280 2710.