Over the past 20 years the number of Cohabiting couples in the UK has doubled. This shows no sign of slowing down. Yet despite this significant growth, the law in relation to cohabiting couples remains undeveloped and perhaps most concernedly, misunderstood. The presumption of the “common law marriage” is nothing more than a myth with no legal foundation. Any attempt to rebuff this would prove to be extremely expensive with no guarantees of success.
In order to avoid falling foul of this presumption, it is sensible to prepare in the event of the relationship breakdown from the outset of your cohabitation. Protection can be offered by way of a Cohabitation Agreement. These are binding contracts made mutually between the two parties that can be legally enforceable.
Each Agreement is unique, tailored to the specific needs of each couple and can be reflective of the contributions each party has made including property, savings, assets and expenditure. Moreover, the Agreement can have provisions relating to children and even pets to ensure clarity between the parties.
Together with an up to date Will, a Cohabitation Agreement offers the best possible protection to cohabitants with no immediate intention to marry to ensure the fairest possible outcome should the unthinkable happen. It is often best to consider the Agreement more by way of an insurance policy; should that rainy day be on the horizon, it may prove to be the most cost-effective investment the two of you ever make.
For further advice or assistance on co-habitation agreements or any Family Law matters contact our Family Law Experts