What is a cohabitation agreement and what does it entail?

Ladies in a meeting

A cohabitation agreement, also known as a living together agreement, is a legal document that outlines the rights and responsibilities of unmarried couples or couples who have, for example, pooled their resources in order for them to share the burdens of living expenses (such as flat mates) and who live together. It is designed to provide clarity and protection for both partners in the event of a separation or the end of the relationship.

Here’s what a cohabitation agreement typically entails:

1. Financial Matters: The agreement can address how financial matters will be handled during the relationship and in the event of a separation. This may include the division of assets, ownership of property, and financial contributions to household expenses.

2. Property Ownership: If the couple owns property together, the agreement can specify the ownership shares and how the property will be divided if the relationship ends.

3. Debts and Liabilities: The agreement can outline how debts and liabilities will be managed, including responsibility for joint debts and any financial obligations towards each other.

4. Child-related Matters: If the couple has children together or plans to have children, the agreement can address issues such as child custody, visitation rights and financial support for the children.

5. Dispute Resolution: The agreement can include provisions for resolving disputes, such as mediation or arbitration, rather than resorting to court proceedings.

6. Termination of the Agreement: The agreement can specify the circumstances under which it can be terminated or modified, such as by mutual agreement or upon the occurrence of certain events.

It is important to note that a cohabitation agreement can be construed by the courts as a legally binding contract, and both partners should seek independent legal advice before entering into the agreement. Each partner should fully disclose their financial circumstances and have a clear understanding of the terms and implications of the agreement.

A cohabitation agreement can provide peace of mind and clarity for couples living together whether romantically involved or simply having pooled resources to cover living costs and the like, as it helps establish rights and responsibilities in the absence of legal protections afforded to married couples. It is advisable to consult with a family law solicitor who can guide you through the process of creating a cohabitation agreement tailored to your specific circumstances and ensure that your interests are protected.

If you are interested in a cohabitation agreement why not call one of Alexander JLO’s expert family lawyers on 020 7537 7000 or email peter@london-law.co.uk for a free, no obligation consultation and see what we can do for you?


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