Living Together Agreements

If you are an unmarried couple living together, or moving in together, it is a good idea to discuss making a Living Together Agreement.

Moving in together is one of the most exciting periods in your relationship and too often little thought is given to documenting each person’s intentions as to the ownership of the property and responsibility for day to day finances.

Although this may be considered unromantic, if this is done at the outset, it will often save both emotional and financial heartache in the future, in the event of the relationship breaking down.

By going through this process together at the start of this new period in your life, you can both agree things in a fair way, without the strain and high emotions that a relationship breakup will often cause.

A Living Together Agreement can set out who owns what and how these assets are to be dealt with upon a breakdown of the relationship, how children will be supported above and beyond any legal requirements, how any bank accounts and debts will be dealt with and generally how the day to day finances will be run whilst living together.

Cohabiting couples are the fastest growing family type in the UK, estimated to have doubled between 1996 and 2016.

Many of these cohabiting couples wrongly believe that, after living together for a lengthy period of time, they have a ‘common law marriage’, giving them similar legal rights to married couples.

There is no such thing as common law marriage in English law and those that do live together as an unmarried couple actually have very few rights following a relationship breakdown.

It is therefore essential that you discuss as a couple early on how your assets should be divided following a relationship breakdown and this should be documented properly in a Living Together Agreement.

It is also important that, as a cohabiting couple, you put in place a Will to deal with what will happen to your assets upon your death. Unless provided for under a Will, cohabitees have no legal right to inherit any of their partner’s estate and it is therefore crucial that a Will is in place to ensure your wishes are carried out. Please click here to find out more about why a Will is so important.

If you would like to discuss a Living Together Agreement please contact Juliet Burtrand on 01473 229874 or by email at juliet.burtrand@attwells.com who will be happy to assist.