People rarely start living together having already prepared for what could happen if things go wrong, as it’s certainly not a very romantic way to start this exciting stage of your life. However, unfortunately, the statistical reality is that at some stage it is likely for the relationship to break down and that means at some point in the future you will probably wish you had officially set out your intentions at the start of the relationship in the form of a Cohabitation agreement.
In the UK there is no such thing as a "common law husband and wife". This can have disastrous results for people when a relationship breaks up or when a partner dies. In some ways, cohabitees are treated like a married couple, such as when applying for a mortgage or working out child support. However, in some other areas, such as property rights, pensions and inheritance, they are treated very differently. Plus, unlike marriages and civil partnerships, there is no law allowing the Court to take all of the circumstances into account to ensure a fair result is received.
The other harsh reality for many people is when a partner dies suddenly, without leaving a Will. This means the surviving partner has no claim to their loved one’s estate. Whichever way, a break-up or an unexpected death, it can leave a very complex and financially difficult situation, which will end up taking a great deal of time and money to sort out. Our advice would always be to create a Cohabitation Agreement (or Living Together Agreement) at the outset. There is then a clear statement or agreement at the start of the relationship, as to how things should be dealt with if the relationship ends.
If you would like to discuss the possibility of drawing up a Living Together Agreement, call or email us now for some free initial advice. For more information on what a Cohabitation Agreement is, whether it is legally binding and the risks of not having one, please visit our Cohabitation agreements page