Cohabitation Agreements.

Cohabitation Agreement Solicitors for Agreements between Unmarried Partners.

Our Cohabitation Agreement Solicitors offer specialist advice to unmarried couples about establishing their rights within the law on matters relating to assets and children.

What is a Cohabitation Agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is a legal document which allows unmarried couples who live together to establish legal rights about how assets would be shared and how children will be provided for if the relationship breaks down. The family lawyers at Lanyon Bowdler are specialists in drafting Cohabitation Agreements and can guide you through the process from start to finish.

 

The Myth of Common Law Marriage

There is a common misconception that couples living together have the same legal rights as married couples, often referred to as “common law marriage”.

In actual fact, common law marriage ceased to exist as a legal term in 1753 – nearly 300 years ago!

That means there are thousands of couples living together in England and Wales who have no legal protection if the relationship breaks down. They also have no responsibility for acting as next of kin, no inheritance rights and no legal agreement about the division of child maintenance or shared assets if they separate.

Your Cohabitation Agreements questions answered

Do I need a cohabitation agreement?

If you and your partner are living together, or are about to move in together, but do not plan to get married or enter into a civil partnership, it makes sense to draw up a cohabitation agreement.

It is the only way to legally agree on the share of any joint assets and liabilities you have.

In England and Wales, there is no legal protection for cohabiting couples. This can leave individuals financially vulnerable in the event of a separation or the death of a partner.

Being clear about each person’s rights and responsibilities in the event of a break-up ensures that both parties are treated fairly. The contributions each party makes to the household become deeply entwined over time, and a cohabitation agreement will help sort everything out should you ever decide to separate.

A cohabitation agreement ensures that there is no uncertainty over who gets what. It can also provide a level of security for couples who share large assets such as houses and businesses.

What is included in a Cohabitation Agreement?

A cohabitation agreement typically covers your joint assets like property, savings, vehicles and valuable possessions, joint debts like a mortgage, loans and credit cards, and even pet ownership. Important things to include in a cohabitation agreement are:

  • Property you owned before moving in together
  • Property you purchased after moving in together with information about who contributed what
  • Joint savings
  • Joint debts
  • Child arrangements
  • Pet ownership
  • Valuable item ownership (a piano, sofa, gym equipment etc)
Can an unmarried couple buy a property together?

It is common, particularly for first time buyers, to pool financial resources with a close friend or partner in order to buy a property.

According to the ONS, cohabiters are the fastest growing type of family structure and a steep rise in the number of cohabiting couples submitting joint mortgage applications was seen in 2020 according to the Mortgage Advice Bureau.

There are a variety of ways in which this can be done effectively and it’s up to you how you choose to go about it. The property can be owned solely or jointly, in equal or non-equal shares.

Other questions you should consider are:

  • Do you both have an equal deposit to contribute?
  • Are you both bringing furniture?
  • Will you buy new furniture together?
  • Who will pay any monthly mortgage repayments?
  • Who will pay for the household bills?

When buying a property together, one of the major decisions unmarried couples have to make is whether to register with the Land Registry as joint tenants or as tenants in common.

As joint tenants, you will both own the property equally – there are no separate, identifiable shares.

As tenants in common, you each own separate identifiable shares in the property. These may be equal or unequal shares depending on what makes sense for you.

If your partner is moving into a property you own, the cohabitation agreement could include a statement from the non-owning partner saying that they understand that they will not be gaining a financial interest in the property despite any payments they make, or any work they do on it.

Your decisions here could have an impact on what happens in the unfortunate event of one partner passing away, so it’s important to seek advice from an experienced Cohabitation Agreement Solicitor specific to your unique circumstances.

Testimonials

What our clients say.

I would not hesitate to recommend LB Solicitors to anyone needing guidance and representation for family law or divorce proceedings. My solicitor was thorough and diligent, balancing professional rigour with fairness, reasonableness and sensitivity. I feel this approach helped me to obtain a satisfactory settlement avoiding costly and unnecessary conflict.

Jon
via ReviewSolicitors

Since dealing with Lanyon Bowdler they have been diligent, efficient and at all times very helpful along with being structured in dealing with matters, fees and clarity on all levels. Thank you.

Michael
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I was clearly informed of progress step by step. The service you provided was very good.

Peter Weston
Shrewsbury

All work carried out effectively and efficiently.

Hubert Jones
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An excellent service with solicitors that you can talk to and who give you a clear understanding of all necessary legal implications and interpretations.

Eric
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From start to finish we had excellent service. Friendly, approachable and professional.

Carl Gittins
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Used Lanyon Bowdler for conveyancing and for legal advice – both solicitors I worked with were effective and professional. Law firm was fast and responsive to queries and clear pricing.

Samantha
via ReviewSolicitors

Very clear, concise advice and guidance, easy to understand.

Ian Jamieson
Telford

Good service provided throughout with clear communication throughout with all options explored.

Lee

I was impressed with the forensic approach to identifying, securing, assessing and presenting evidence over the two years that it took to finally resolve the issue.

Timothy
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I can thoroughly recommend the highly professional and supportive service received over the last few months.

Heather
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Responsive, supportive, approachable, clear and empathetic.

Lisa Thacker

Professional and prompt communication. Supportive and client focused.

Lisa Thacker
Jennifer M Whittall Ltd

Whenever I have had need to contact Lanyon Bowdler I have always received a fast, concise and friendly response.

Lee Mortimer
UK Case Management

Definitely would use Lanyon Bowdler again if I need the use of a solicitor.

Mark Bowkett
via ReviewSolicitors

Smooth and efficient service from very professional firm.

Tim
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We were particularly impressed with the quality of work, the speed and excellent communication.

Allenby Douglas Ltd
Oswestry

Very friendly and approachable. Very good advice

Ivor Brown
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Great Service; Lanyon Bowdler were excellent from the outset. Straightforward and easy process. I just sat back and waited.

Paul Rowe
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Everything has been professional, efficient and courteous throughout and we are very pleased, both with the service and with the eventual outcome of our case. Everything was first class and exceeded our expectations. Thank you again for providing such splendid service. It is really appreciated.

Mr N J & Dr S J Browne
Llanfyllin

Drafting a Cohabitation Agreement

As with many legal documents, drafting a cohabitation agreement can be complex and confusing so it’s essential to talk to a specialist solicitor at the outset. The agreement can actually be quite informal in nature and putting it together needn’t be too onerous, but it’s important to get it right.

A cohabitation agreement can cover a whole range of topics, typically including:

  • Income: such as whether you and your partner place your income into a joint bank account.
  • Inheritance and wills: do you want to include your partner in your will?
  • Children: if you have children, how will you provide for them if you separate?
  • Property: how will you divide the property acquired during your relationship, and any property you each acquired before your relationship, should your relationship end?
  • Duration: how long would you like the agreement to last?

We understand that drafting a cohabitation agreement can be seen by some couples as somewhat daunting and rather unromantic. Rest assured, our family law solicitors are very experienced and work in an approachable, sensitive way, to ensure that the process is as hassle-free as possible.

 

Declaration of Trust

A Declaration of Trust is a legally binding document that shows the financial arrangements and any other agreements made between joint property owners at the time of purchase. It is not required by law, but it makes the shares of ownership much more transparent and easier to resolve if things change in the future. The key things to include in a deed of trust are how much money has been invested, and what percentage of the property each person will own. If the couple separates in the future the deed of trust will dictate how the proceeds are divided.

Contact the Cohabitation Agreement Solicitors at Lanyon Bowdler

If you have any questions about cohabitation agreement law, please get in touch with the team who will happily discuss how we can help.

Lanyon Bowdler was one of the first law firms in the area to introduce a range of flexible pricing options, such as fixed fees and service level guarantees, because we feel it’s important to be open and transparent about how much our services will cost.

Please give us a call for a friendly, confidential, chat about how we can help support you when you or your family need legal advice and representation. Please contact a member of the team or complete our online enquiry form.

By choosing Lanyon Bowdler for family law legal advice, you can rest assured that you have the best legal expertise on hand no matter what the situation. We are committed to providing exceptional levels of client care and will work closely and considerately with you to help find the best outcomes. Our team has great experience in all areas of family law and family mediation, including cohabitation agreements.

We have offices in Shrewsbury, Bromyard, Conwy, Hereford, Ludlow, Oswestry and Telford, so are able to act for clients all over Shropshire, Herefordshire, Mid and North Wales and across the Midlands (including Wolverhampton & Birmingham). As a leading full-service law firm, we can represent you wherever you live in England or Wales.

Our people

Meet the team.

Sue Hodgson
Sue Hodgson
Partner
Family Law
Jon Moriarty
Jon Moriarty
Partner
Family Law
Philippa Pearson
Philippa Pearson
Partner
Family Law
Georgia Rowney
Georgia Rowney
Legal Assistant
Family Law
Lizzie Cross
Lizzie Cross
Trainee Solicitor
Family
Mia Williams
Mia Williams
Trainee Solicitor
Family Law
Anne Lewis
Anne Lewis
Associate Legal Executive (FCILEX)
Family Law
Lisa Grimmett
Lisa Grimmett
Associate Solicitor
Family Law
Caroline Yorke
Caroline Yorke
Associate Solicitor
Family Law
Fiona Cooper
Fiona Cooper
Legal Assistant
Family Law
Rachel Tomley
Rachel Tomley
Solicitor
Family Law
Erin Payne
Erin Payne
Paralegal Apprentice
Family Law
Staci Robinson
Staci Robinson
Associate Solicitor
Family Law
Laura Jones
Laura Jones
Solicitor
Family Law
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