Unmarried couples living together as if they were man and wife can acquire certain rights and remedies against one another in the event of separation or the death of one party.
At present, the law relating to these rights is a complex mixture of Common Law (i.e. case law) and Statute. There is much debate in Government about the need for a Statutory Code governing the rights of unmarried couples.
As the law stands, disputes between former unmarried couples can prove expensive and uncertain in terms of outcome.
Unmarried relationships come in many different varieties from the short term, relatively casual to the long term and committed.
All relationships change over time for example, with the birth of children. If you were asked at the outset of a relationship what the financial arrangements should be in the event of a separation your views may be very different when compared with your response to the same question some years later.
For many of us, these changes take place gradually so that we rarely pause to consider the consequences of a separation. In reality, unmarried couples are free to enter into agreements regulating their rights and obligations towards one another at any time. We say that this is a very sensible thing for any unmarried couple to consider.
Here at the Family Law Co we have an expertise in preparing clear, properly drafted Cohabitation Agreements which provide peace of mind. This will save a great deal of distress and expense for both parties in the unfortunate event of a separation.
An agreement can range from a simple declaration of each party’s share in the home to more comprehensive documents defining shares in other assets and contributions to various outgoings.
Agreements can be drafted to terminate on the occurrence of certain events, or be flexible to anticipate events such as future capital contributions from one party or the birth of a child, which might change each party’s view as to the other’s rights. Most importantly, you will each know where you stand.