Cohabitation Agreements

Cohabitation Agreement Solicitors Leeds

It is safe to say that couples do not plan for their relationship to break down. However, to protect yourself should the relationship, unfortunately, come to an end, it is good to have a discussion with your partner in regard to how assets will be distributed upon separation instead of waiting for discussions to take place when the relationship has broken down.

If you and your partner have agreed to live together but have no plans for marriage at present, at Consilia Legal we can prepare a cohabitation agreement for you.

A cohabitation agreement is a document of the agreed arrangements between you and your partner both during your relationship and in the event that your relationship breaks down. Having a clear agreement at the outset will hopefully alleviate any issues should the relationship break down which in turn will hopefully save time, money and ensure that matters are dealt with amicably.

The agreement can be tailormade to cover a whole host of issues such as:

  • Who is responsible to pay which utility bills;
  • How much contribution each party will make towards the mortgage;
  • How any shared bank accounts will be utilised;
  • If either party has a share in the property and if so what percentage;
  • The agreement can also record ownership of personal items such as cars, furniture etc. and will record who will retain their ownership.

As with any agreement, there are advantages and risks involved should you decide to proceed with a cohabitation agreement.

Advantages of a cohabitation agreement:

  • The agreement can set out the financial terms of your relationship in a clear, transparent document which can prevent issues from incurring in the future;
  • Preservation of assets: If one party possesses personal assets i.e. shares, properties, investments, these can be protected. For example, if one party owns a property and it is mortgage free and the parties decide to cohabit, the agreement can include provisions as to what will happen if the relationship does breakdown and what claim can be made on the property by the non-owning cohabitee.
  • The agreement can include clauses about how the property is to be dealt with in the event the relationship breaks down, for example, where property is co-owned by cohabitees, they may agree to sell the property. The agreement can record this and include clauses that regulate the following:- Occupation of the property and payment of household expenses pending sale;
    – Who will value the property; and
    – How the proceed of sales are to be divided.
    – Avoid unnecessary costs of litigation as the agreement records the couple’s intention about the legal and beneficial ownership of their property.

Risks involved:

  • There is uncertainty about whether the terms of a cohabitation agreement will be upheld and enforced by the court and will depend upon the specific facts of the case;
  • Additional costs involved to negotiate and execute a cohabitation agreement;
  • Risk of relationship breakdown – often one party may find it difficult to raise the question of entering into the agreement with their partner, particularly where the couple will be living together in property that is solely owned by one of them. This may raise doubt to the non-owning cohabitee about their partner’s commitment to the relationship.

For more information about cohabitation agreements, speak to one of our experienced family solicitors on 0113 322 9222 or or complete our contact form.


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