Co-habitation agreements and resolving disputes on separation
Many people cohabit and believe that they have the same legal rights as married couples but this is not correct – there is no legal concept of “common law wife or husband” which means that even if you have cohabited for many years and own property together and have children, when you separate your legal rights and remedies are very different from spouses within a marriage.
You do not need to marry in order to reach agreement about how you want to divide up your home and other capital in the event of separation. A Cohabitation Agreement signed by both of you with the intention of creating a legally binding document can enable you to resolve issues about who gets what share of the family home and when or if it is sold, in the event of separation. The Agreement can also set out your agreements about the care of your children in the event of separation and payment of financial support as well as how you want to divide up any savings you have accumulated. In the event that you separate, you can both rely on the agreement as evidence of what you both agreed during your relationship and this can be a useful tool on separation to consider together or in the event that one of you starts court proceedings. Cohabitation Agreements are not court orders and a judge in court proceedings about property or the children can make orders that are different to the previous agreements but signed agreements are usually taken into account as important evidence of what was agreed between you about future arrangements on separation.
Disputes following separation after cohabitation
Our experienced lawyers and mediators can assist you in resolving disputes about the family home and other property and capital arising after separation. We can advise you on how to transfer and purchase the other’s share of the property if that is what you agree and we will work closely with our conveyancing colleagues to ensure this is undertaken within your preferred timetable. We can issue court proceedings and represent you in court, if agreement through negotiation and mediation cannot be reached.