At Bastows we can assist with the drafting of Living Together Agreements or Cohabitation Agreements and can advise on what should be included in the agreement.
The Living Together Agreement or Cohabitation Agreement will determine how you both agree to organize your financial arrangements both whilst you live together and in the event that you separate. It can be set up before or after you start living together. Although unromantic, it is a sensible thing to do and the likelihood of a cohabitation relationship breaking down is higher than a divorce in marriage.
What should be included in a Cohabitation Agreement?
- Payments towards mortgage or rent and other household bills such as council tax.
- Debts in joint and sole names and who is responsible for those debts, including those that have been amassed before cohabitation. Who will be responsible for those debts in the event of separation?
- Savings – joint or in sole name and how they will be if you separate.
- Joint assets such as cars or furniture – who will keep them or will they be sold if you separate?
- How you own property, such as your home, in sole name, joint in equal shares or joint in unequal shares. What will happen to the home if you separate? Who will move out? If one of you moves out will you still pay towards the house?
- Joint bank accounts.
- Life insurance in joint names or on each other.
- Nominated beneficiary under pensions.
- If you have children how they will affect the agreement and how you will each support them.
- Mutual wills.
- Review clauses.
- Inheritance and gifts from others – to be shared or kept apart?
The agreement will focus on financial matters and will not include details of domestic life.
Are Cohabitation Agreements Legally Enforceable?
Yes provided there has been full financial disclosure i.e you have not hidden any details about your financial circumstances so that you have both entered into the Cohabitation Agreement with a full knowledge of what you are agreeing to. The Cohabitation Agreement needs to be properly drafted as a legal contract.
If you decide to get married to your partner it is important to take out a Pre-Nuptial Agreement. Although not totally legally binding, Pre-Nuptial Agreements are regarded as one of the factors to be taken into account by a Judge when considering what orders to make. Recent case law has determined that they will carry more legal weight. Therefore, if both parties entered into the Agreement willingly and had the opportunity to take legal advice then the Court is urged to enforce the Pre-Nuptial Agreement.
How does it work?
When preparing your Cohabitation Agreement we will typically ask you to provide all your financial information, including all assets and liabilities. We will always take your instructions and advise you on any issues you may need to consider and advise on how to have the document witnessed properly. Following the draft of the agreement, we will then supply you with an original copy for you and your partner to sign.
We will draft the Agreement based on the information you supply so you are responsible for ensuring that all information is provided in a timely manner. We cannot be responsible for redrafting the Agreement if there are missing details you have not told us about.
For more information about Cohabitation Agreements, please contact us on 02380 236025 and a member of our team will be happy to help you.