It has become a widespread concept for couples to choose to live together within one house out of wedlock. This is known as cohabitation, and a cohabitation agreement plays a crucial role in protecting each partners’ rights who choose to live with their significant other. If you’re wondering why you may need a cohabitation agreement, here’s everything you need to know.
What is a Cohabitation Agreement?
A cohabitation agreement is a document or contract that mentions an arrangement between two partners who choose to live in a house together without being married. These individuals don’t necessarily have to be a couple to live together and can choose to have a cohabitation agreement as friends, roommates, colleagues, and more. This document plays a critical role in recording each party’s individual responsibilities and rights associated with the property in question.
In other words, a cohabitation agreement includes everything related to the legal obligations of living together, the financial responsibilities of each party, the reasons they live or intend to live together, and other arrangements. It also mentions the measures to be taken if the partners decide to dissolve the contract or no longer want to reside within the same property together.
Every cohabitation agreement is different and circumstantial. Its details significantly depend on the needs of the couple opting for it. Apart from the customised changes, this document always covers the essential areas associated with the partners’ asset ownership and the arrangements decided if the relationship ends.
Does It Have Any Benefits?
It’s safe to say that a cohabitation agreement is merely a contract that takes care of the processes that occur when a relationship breaks down. Therefore, it may seem like a pessimistic step for couples who decide to rebuild their lives by choosing to live together. However, if you look at the bigger picture, this agreement has a lot more benefits than drawbacks.
Firstly, it’s a well-crafted piece of contract that focuses on each individuals’ financial and legal interest when it comes to the property. As a result, it plays an active role in preventing ownership disputes in the future if the couple decides to dissolve in cohabitation. It ultimately saves the money that could’ve been spent on litigation.
Furthermore, couples that enter a cohabitation agreement lead happier lives knowing that they have the freedom to make their financial arrangements and a significant amount of autonomy over their assets even after their relationship breaks down.
Is Cohabitation Legal in the UK?
Despite some resistance in the past, getting a cohabitation agreement is 100 per cent lawful in the UK. According to the Law Commission, these agreements are completely legal, and the only way they can be challenged in court is if they’re made due to contractual disputes, duress, fraudulent activities, or undue influence.
Previously, cohabitation used to be regularly contested in the UK due to the discourse that discouraged the idea of couples living together and having sexual relations without binding themselves in a marriage contract. However, it’s not the same case today.
What Does the Agreement Include?
One of the biggest benefits of a cohabitation agreement is that a couple can choose to add whatever they deem necessary in it. Therefore, every agreement is different and according to a couple’s relationship and circumstances. However, according to legal experts, a cohabitation agreement should ideally include:
The property’s details and its prior ownership
The purchase details of the property
Wills, estate plans, and inheritance
Monthly or annual household bills
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