What are my rights as a cohabitee?

17th July 2018

If you’re living together (cohabiting), however permanently, you don’t have the same rights as a married couple.  You don’t benefit from the provisions of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 that give both parties the chance to obtain financial orders from the court in areas such as property rights, maintenance and pension sharing.  In fact, couples who are not married have little or no legal protection at the end of a relationship.

To protect yourself financially, take legal advice at the start to prevent problems later.  Consider these three things:

  • A Declaration of Trust – to reflect financial contributions or any other agreement you have reached;
  • A Cohabitation Agreement – to determine contributions to mortgage and outgoings and what happens if the relationship breaks down;
  • Up-date or make a new will – if you die without leaving a will, your partner won’t automatically inherit.

If the relationship has broken down, you can protect your interests, especially relating to property and your children, making applications under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 and Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989.

For more information, and an initial free consultation, please get in touch with the family team.

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