At the present time unmarried couples living together (cohabitants) do not enjoy the same home rights as married couples or civil partners.
There are many misconceptions about what rights cohabitants possess, the most common being the belief in certain rights that arise under “common law marriage”.
Unfortunately, the concept of a common law marriage has no legal recognition. This means that no matter how long the relationship has lasted, if it breaks down or one person dies there is always the possibility that the other may find themselves with no entitlement to property or inheritance.
In order to establish what rights an individual has in respect of either property or finances it is necessary to rely on the Trust principles, the terms of a Will or Contract (see our Property section for details on Joint Tenancies, Tenancy in Common, Mortgages, and Deeds of Trust).
Under the trust principles, even if the property is only held in one party’s name the Court may decide that there was an agreement to share ownership. If you think that this applies to you we recommend you come to see us as soon as possible.
Alternatively, you can ensure that your partner is cared for under the terms of your Will. For further information see our Wills section.
Some couples who decide to live together choose to enter into a Cohabitation Agreement. This is effectively a contract which both parties sign and which will set out how the various assets will be divided in the event of a separation. Such an agreements are not legally binding and can only go some way to demonstrate what a couple’s intention was in respect of their property rights or what arrangements have been agreed for financial matters.
If you are considering entering into cohabitation agreement we would suggest you make a free no obligation appointment to discuss your options.
Remember our first consultation is free to all.
Contact Sarah Price.
Bargoed tel: 01443 830228.