A natural step in many relationships, living together (also called cohabitation) can sometimes also result in unforeseen legal issues.
Cohabitation is an arrangement made by two people that are not married but have an intimate relationship and are in a long-term permanent relationship. It is essential for cohabitation partnerships to have a valid Will in place, as co-habitats do not automatically have the right to their partner’s estate if they die. However, if you own the property as joint tenants, the right of survivorship applies, so the joint owner would automatically acquire the deceased share. On the other hand, if you own the property jointly as tenants in common the right of survivorship does not apply.
If you need to ensure your partners security or if you are going through a break-up please contact Jeffrey Mills Solicitors for advice and support.
Whilst many see cohabiting together as a valuable test of a relationship – to discuss whether marriage is right for them – it also causes more relaxed legal requirements than marriage, leaving couples in limbo regarding money, property and children.
Cohabitation and Property
Those divorcing need to divide their property and money legally, but the end of a cohabitation relationship has no set guidelines, which can create greater conflict as to who gets what, unless they entered into a prior contract. This can result in a partner accustomed to being supported, facing unexpected financial hardship after the split.
Cohabitation and Children
While children born during a marriage are presumed to be the offspring of the husband and wife, this is not the case for cohabiting couples. The unmarried father of a child is not entitled to a legal presumption of paternity and may have to prove paternity. However, if an unmarried father is named on the birth certificate, they automatically acquire Parental Responsibility. A parent can ask Child Maintenance Service to get involved regarding maintenance and they would only question paternity if the issue was raised by the father.
It is a good idea to set up a cohabitation agreement to set out what each person brings to the relationship and in the event of the relationship ending, clarifies property ownership, and list each party’s rights and responsibilities. Married couples also have some advantages when it comes to tax, which Cohabiting Couples should be aware of, if you do not wish to get married.
Jeffrey Mills Solicitors can help put previsions in place to protect yourself and your partner if you are a cohabiting couple. If you require assistance on any aspect of cohabitation call Jeffrey Mills Solicitors.
Contact your specialist for advice.
Head of Family Law Department
Tel: 01480 219699