The expression “common law husband and wife” is often misquoted and misunderstood. No matter how many years a couple live together they do not acquire rights between them just because of their cohabitation. This is the case even if they have children. This is not fully understood or appreciated until a relationship breaks down and then unforeseen consequences can result.

It is possible for a couple to enter into a “Cohabitation Agreement” which sets out the financial arrangements they have agreed. Having this, and possibly a Declaration of Trust, can be important if a property is being bought in joint names for a couple to live in. Very often any unequal financial contribution towards the purchase price is not properly recorded which could result in an unfair division of the property if the relationship breaks down. We can discuss questions over “joint tenants” or “tenants in common”.

We recommend a one off appointment to at least discuss all options before or shortly after people start living together or before purchasing property together. This small step could potentially save thousands should a relationship break down. We offer a reduced rate fixed fee appointment for all new clients. Please request the family department on 01328 863231 in the first instance for all new family enquires.

Cohabitation Team


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