Cohabitation or Living Together Agreements
A cohabiting couple can enter into a cohabitation agreement setting out arrangements which will apply while they are living together, as well as establishing rights on the breakdown of the relationship.
This is still a relatively new area of law and, as yet, there is no modern decision on the validity of such agreements. The courts have however indicated that there is nothing contrary to public policy in a cohabitation agreement and more and more couples are seeking such agreements.
To ensure the cohabitation agreement has the best chance of being upheld by a court, it is advisable that:
- Each of the couple have independent legal advice
- Each of the couple have provided full financial disclosure
The main issues which could be covered in a cohabitation agreement are:
- Ownership of real and personal property
- Finances, for example, how to divide bills and resolve ownership of joint accounts
- Children, for example, their maintenance and surnames. Any agreement made in relation to children will be limited by the Children Act 1989 and will be open to review by the court.
- Other matters which are not too trivial