Co-habitation and Relationship Breakdown

The law provides little legal protection for cohabitees who are not married or in a civil partnership when they separate.

A Cohabitation Agreement (also known as Living Together Agreements) can record any financial commitments that cohabitees wish to make to each other and help to avoid, in the event of relationship breakdown, Court proceedings about the ownership of property. Such proceedings are not only stressful and costly but the outcome of a court case is never certain and a Cohabitation Agreement can minimise the risk of such a claim being made.

Couples are often unaware that “common law husband” and “common law wife” are not legally recognised terms and the financial provision that can be made by the court for cohabitees is much more limited than for husbands and wives. In particular, cohabitees cannot claim income payments, except on behalf of children and cannot seek a pension sharing order in respect of their cohabitees pension.

However if a cohabiting party dies in England and Wales they can make a claim against the deceased’s estate if they have lived together for two years immediately before the deceased died. A Cohabitation Agreement can provide that such a claim will not be made.

Contact us if you want to discuss a Cohabitation Agreement or if you are separating and need to resolve financial issues between you. We can help you decide how best to resolve the issues. This can be done directly between you, in mediation, by negotiation between solicitors or through the collaborative process. Click here to view our Resolving Issues Collaboratively page. If an agreement cannot be reached we have considerable experience of attending Court to represent clients in Court proceedings and preparing the necessary documentation to put your best case forward.