A Cohabitation Agreement is a formal written agreement entered into by parties in a relationship outside marriage (either heterosexual couples or gay couples). It's purpose is to provide for the parties' rights in the event that the relationship breaks down since cohabiting couples do not have the same rights as married couples under the law.
While a Cohabitation Agreement is not necessarily enforceable or binding they are, however, becoming more persuasive (i.e. the courts are more inclined to take them into account) and can always be submitted as evidence to the court. Where the terms of the agreement seem to favour one party rather than the other, it is important for both parties to obtain independent legal advice to avoid a claim by one party that he/she was forced to sign it accepting unfair terms.
This agreement is suitable where either one party owns the home or both parties own the home as "tenants in common". It states that all property owned by each party prior to the agreement shall remain the property of that party in the event of separation and sets out what should happen to property acquired jointly after the date of the agreement.
This agreement is suitable for heterosexual couples or gay couples. It is advisable that both parties also make a Will as otherwise assets owned by either party will go to their next of kin and not to their partner.
This version is suitable for use in England and Wales and contains clauses covering:
- the home
- personal property
- bank accounts
- debit and credit agreements
- living expenses
- termination (of agreement)
- transitional provisions