Posted by David Cobern on 30th March 2020

Our unmarried legal specialist David Cobern shares some things to consider when planning and protecting your future together.

As couples #stayathome they’re spending more time together than perhaps ever before and it will be a test for many relationships.  Quite rightly your legal rights won’t be top of your worries but it might be a good  time to look at safeguarding your future together.

Have you resolved past relationships?

If one of you is still married or is divorced but has no financial settlement, it is advisable to sort it out. A former spouse has more rights than your current partner!

Are you planning on growing your family?

If you plan on having children and one of you wants to give up work to care for them, that involves a huge financial detriment for that person. If you don’t plan to marry, think about the impact on pension planning.  Discuss if the working partner is happy to carry on making full contributions into a pension scheme so that they suffer less on retirement or in the event of a separation.

Whose house is it anyway?

Don’t ignore the elephant in the room – your home! Many couples don’t talk much about their shares in property they both own. Have that conversation. If you don’t already have one, consider getting a Declaration of trust or a cohabitation agreement which will avoid dispute later and give you both peace of mind. If one partner is the legal owner but you have both invested and intend to share, document it. Ideally, any agreement should be in a legal document. This will formalise the decision you have both made.

What happens if one of you dies?  

It seems over the last few weeks we can’t escape the difficult subject of death but do you both have an up to date will?  It is definitely something you should both have, particularly if one of you is financially dependent on the other or if you have children.  Consider nominating your partner to receive death benefits from your pension in the event of your death and encourage them to do likewise for you or your children. Formalising your decisions will help bring clarity for your family if the worst should happen.

David Cobern is a director and solicitor who specialises in umarried couple law. If you would like to discuss this article or any unmarried couple legal matter then please do get in touch by telephone 01392 421777 or by email [email protected]

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