Nowadays it is quite common for couples to live together for a long time before they decide to get married, in fact, some never get married at all. Unfortunately, should the relationship eventually come to a bitter end, it can become a long, arduous process, trying to divide any assets accrued when the individuals were together - something that nobody enjoys. A cohabitation agreement can help ensure this does not happen.
It has become a common misconception that when couple who have lived together for a certain period of time split up, that they are entitled to the same as those in a “common law marriage”. However, there is no such thing as a “common law marriage”, which therefore means that when couples who are not married separate, they are not entitled to the same rights as those who are in a legal marriage.
A cohabitation contract, or agreement, is similar to a prenuptial agreement and can give you and your partner and element of security when it comes to your assets and finances. You can therefore arrange for any personal property owned before entering into the relationship will remain yours.
You can also state what you would like to happen to any assets acquired during the relationship. In addition, you can draw up what is to become with each of their income, pensions and any other tangible assets involved. For couples living together, the agreement can also outline what you intend to do with the property should the relationship deteriorate, for example, if you would sell it and who the profit would go to.
It can also outline what would happen to any children that you have had together, should you separate later down the line. For example, you may wish to draw up a contact schedule between parents or insert a clause outlining that any children involved live with one party should you and your partner decide to eventually live separately.
It has also become common for couples to outline other clauses surrounding their relationship in their cohabitation agreement. This includes things such as who will be responsible for paying the bills, property maintenance costs and even the food bill. This allows for a clear and concise idea of who is responsible for what around the house, should any disagreements occur down the road.
If you want to learn more about cohabitation agreements then have a browse online and see if one is right for you. Harrogate Family Law have experience of drawing up cohabitation contracts, and have information on their site and there are endless options when chosing the type of agreement you make.