Doing this is a smart move when you decide to move in together. It can feel like it’s all rainbows and sunshine, but what if things change in the future. You want to protect yourself, so get a cohabitation agreement or a living agreement drawn up by a professional family lawyer.
It is a legally binding document that is drawn up by your family lawyer signed by the judge and entered into the minute of agreement records. It relates to property, children, assets, inheritance, businesses and helps for issues in the future, while you are together and living together. The agreement will not raise its head unless you decide to split up. The cohabitation agreement then is a document to refer to, hopefully making the split easier as you have already agreed things in advance.
What do you need to do?
- You should each get a lawyer
- Have an honest discussion about your expectations before going to see your lawyer, especially if one person has children and the other doesn’t
- Meet with your lawyer and get things drafted and sent to your partner’s lawyer
If you have property and only 1 name is on the mortgage, don’t worry, your cohabitation agreement can detail that because you pay half the bills (or whatever contribution you make) that you have rights. If you have paid a certain sum of money into the household for a period, you do have a personal stake.
If you have children, and not married, you may want to revisit the agreement. Things like the main carer, job income etc need to be documented. This is as much for your protection as the child’s.
How do I get a Lawyer?
Ask for recommendations, getting a referral is so much better than just putting the words into Google. You want to deal with someone who is fair and reasonable and who will give you good advice. Check out this network of family lawyers http://helpwithfamilylaw.co.uk/ for great separation law advice or for divorce solicitors advice.