• Greyfriars Solicitors

What are your legal rights as a cohabitee and how can you protect them?



Many people mistakenly believe they have a legal right to claim contributions made during a relationship when two people have been living in the same household for a long period of time. Instead, they are best placed by entering into a cohabitation document where they can detail their agreement.


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What is a cohabitation agreement?

  • A legal document for two people considering living together in the same household or who are already living together in the same household;

  • Can cover what each person owns if the relationship comes to an end what each party can expect to retrieve, for example assets and personal belongings;

  • A legal document which is evidence following a break-up and could save the costs of a potential dispute in the future when considering financial settlement.


What does a cohabitation agreement cover?

  • Property you may own in joint names, specifying the actual share you hold in ownership;

  • Any bank accounts you hold jointly;

  • Liabilities and debts in individual’s names or joint names, including mortgages;

  • Personal items belonging to you;

  • Agreement on what would happen to any pets following separation;

  • Declaration of trust confirming how the assets, property, and capital ought to be separated if the relationship were to come to an end.


Should you consider a will, too?


Unlike married couples, unmarried partners do not automatically inherit their deceased partner’s estate. Therefore, if you want to protect your unmarried partner in the case of your death, a will is always advisable to ensure your intention is adhered to.


Why is it advisable to have a solicitor prepare your cohabitation agreement?

  • A solicitor can ensure the agreement is drafted in such a way to protect your legal interests and financial position;

  • They can advise you of the consequence of separation or the death of one unmarried partner;

  • They can advise on matters relating to children and maintenance;

  • They can ensure that the terms of the agreement are in line with the most recent legislation;

  • It is more cost effective drawing up the agreement with a solicitor instead of making an application to court following separation or finding your agreement was never legally enforceable due to the way in which it has been drafted.

Get in touch with one of our family law experts to find out how we can assist you in your cohabitation matters.


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