Sharing a home comes with its own challenges. With that in mind, there is a new trend that has developed over the past few years, which has seen an increase among unmarried couples wanting to protect their assets and have an exit strategy, should the relationship turn sour. These contracts are known as ‘cohabitation agreements’.
We ask divorce lawyers and other experts to explain the pros and cons of having a cohabitation agreement. Here’s what they told us.
Renato Labi commented: “Cohabitation agreements are generally entered into between a couple who are not getting married or entering into a civil partnership. It will not affect the legal nature of their relationship.”
“Cohabitation agreements usually concern the ownership of a property. If you own a flat and your partner is going to move in, a cohabitation agreement can record the fact that, even if the other partner is contributing to household bills or mortgage payments, you both agree that the other partner will acquire no interest in your property. This can spare a separating couple a very expensive argument about whether the person who moved had acquired an interest in the property.”
“If the document is prepared properly, and both parties have legal advice and understand what they are doing, then it is likely that they will be bound by the agreement. At the very least it will provide powerful evidence of what the parties agreed and understood when they started living together. If one party has been untruthful or put the other under duress to sign the agreement, a cohabitation agreement entered into in those circumstances would be challengeable in court.”
“Cohabitation agreements are not particularly common but, when so many couples live together without being married, they can be a very useful way of avoiding expensive arguments if a relationship ends.”
Read Renato’s comments in Metro.