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If you are unmarried and either cohabiting, or looking to move in together with your partner, there are many reasons why it may be worth creating a cohabitation agreement.
A Cohabitation Agreement is a legal document between an unmarried couple which details how their financial affairs/property should be managed whilst living together and what would happen in the event that their relationship should end.
Unmarried couples in England and Wales are not adequately protected from the financial impact of separation in the same way as married couples are. No party is automatically entitled to anything that belonged to the other, even when there are children to consider. Even if you are the owner of a property, separation does not automatically mean that you are protected from the possibility of financial claims from your former partner. In many ways, the ending of a cohabiting relationship can be just as difficult as one where the parties are married.
Despite more people choosing to cohabit ahead of marriage, or electing not to marry at all, the law in England and Wales remains antiquated and unfit for purpose for cohabitants. There is no sign at present that legal reforms are likely to be introduced which might afford greater protection and rights to couples who cohabit and separate. Whilst the informality of cohabitation makes it very attractive at first glance, the legal realities are often the exact opposite.
Having a Cohabitation Agreement in place allows an unmarried couple to avoid ambiguity and doubt over the financial implications of separation. They are particularly recommended where one party is the sole owner of the property where the parties are cohabiting. In the event of separation, litigation over such a property can be enormously expensive and stressful.
A Cohabitation Agreement can be prepared for a modest cost and potentially save thousands of pounds should your relationship end.
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