21 December 2018

Avoid costly arguments by planning ahead

When a dispute arises between cohabiting couples about the financial contributions each party has made to aspects of a relationship, for example the purchase of a house, or home improvements such as a new kitchen or bathroom, the court will look for evidence. In the absence of a written agreement that can involve uncertainty whilst the parties try and demonstrate what they had intended at the outset. Far better to avoid those problems from the outset by entering into an express written agreement before you begin living together.

The type of agreement you need depends on what aspects of your financial relationship you are seeking to protect. A Living Together Agreement sets out key and clear information about the contributions each party makes to the relationship and what happens to each party’s assets should the relationship end. It can include property and savings acquired or contributed from the date of the agreement and separation.

“Always document your intentions. Verbal agreements are insufficient.” – James Osborne

A Declaration of Trust deals only with the ownership of your house but is necessary where one party has contributed to the purchase of the property but is not named as a legal owner, or where the property is owned jointly but not equally because one party has contributed a greater deposit.

In both cases such agreements provide clarity on the breakdown of the relationship and should help avoid costly arguments at a time when both parties simply wish to move on with their lives.

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About the Author
James Osborne, Senior Associate Solicitor
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