Cohabitation – Frequently Asked Questions

Often couples choose to test the waters by living together before making a definitive commitment. It is estimated that more than one quarter of non married couples currently cohabit.

Are we ‘Common Law’ husband and wife if we have lived together for more than 2 years?

The notion of ‘Common Law’ husband and wife is a widely believed myth. Even though cohabiting couples can be just as committed to each other, they have no legal rights over each other’s financial assets consequent upon their earlier decision to live together.

Joint Tenants versus Tenants in Common

Joint Tenants

Within Joint Tenancy, each party owns the whole of the property. On the death of one party, the whole of the property reverts to the surviving party.

Tenants in Common

Tenants in Common each own a specified share of the property. On the death of one owner, their share passes in accordance with their will, or in the absence of a Will, their share will pass in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy.

My partner is the sole owner of our house. Do I have any right to make a financial claim against him if we split up?

You may be able to make a claim under the law of trusts;

Resulting Trust

A Resulting Trust can occur when:

  • A party contributes towards the purchase price of a property put in the other party’s name.
  • A party transfers property to another party, but does not receive anything in return.

Constructive Trust

A constructive trust can occur where;

  • There has been an agreement to share ownership of the property either directly, by way of express agreement, or indirectly, by making financial contributions (ie; to the mortgage or purchase price)
  • A party has placed reliance upon this agreement.

We would recommend that you seek legal advice to discuss your rights and options.

What is a Cohabitation Agreement?

A Cohabitation Agreement is a legally binding agreement reached between a couple who have chosen to live together.

It can refer to a number of things, including;

  • how household bills are to be paid.
  • how mortgage instalments are to be divided.
  • how income is to be divided.
  • how a property is to be dealt with in the tragic event of a death or a breakup.

What are the benefits of a Cohabitation Agreement?

It is highly advisable to have a Cohabitation Agreement drawn up, as it can set out clear guidelines as to what will happen to your finances if you decide to break up, or if one of you dies. This can help you to avoid the unnecessary stress and uncertainty of protracted legal proceedings.

How much will a Cohabitation Agreement cost?

We offer a range of agreements including fixed price options.

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