With the on-going decline in marriage, there has been a substantial increase in couples cohabiting before marrying, and indeed, not marrying at all.
It is important for Cohabiting Couples to understand that if you live together with your partner but are not married or have not formed a Civil Partnership, you are considered a cohabiting couple. There is no such thing as a “common law spouse”.
As cohabitants, your rights and obligations relating to property, Children and Maintenance are very different to couples who have undertaken a formal ceremony of marriage or civil partnership. Consequently, if you wish to protect the interests of both you and your partner, it is important to seek legal advice from a Family Lawyer.
If you are cohabiting you may consider entering into a Cohabitation Agreement. This is a form of legal agreement that allows couples to set out the position regarding both solely and jointly owned property. The agreement can also set out what should happen if Relationship Breakdown occurs in the future.
The benefit of such an agreement is that it provides clear evidence of what a couple has agreed and will assist in the event that there is a dispute in the future.
To ensure the validity of cohabitation agreements both parties must provide full disclosure as to their financial circumstances and seek independent legal advice.
Many couples cohabit to test the waters prior to taking the big plunge of marriage, and as such it is important for couples to understand the legal implications of cohabitation.
With an ever increasing proportion of the population cohabiting, it is more important than ever for cohabitants to clearly define the legal relationship between themselves.