Living with your partner in one home can be an exciting time and a big step in a romantic relationship. However, we often get caught up in the thrill of house hunting and starting a life together and forget about the laws involved in cohabitation in the UK. Despite what people might believe, when you live together with your partner, you don’t get the same legal rights as a married couple.
So, let’s explore what cohabitation in UK law entails and how you can protect your rights in such a living situation!
What Is Cohabitation in UK Law?
Cohabitation is essentially a term that describes unmarried couples who choose to live together. It applies to both opposite- and same-sex couples. If you share a home with your partner and are not in a civil partnership or married, you fall under the label of a cohabiting couple.
However, despite being incredibly common in the country, there are no defined laws for cohabitation in the UK. The term cohabitating can refer to various cohabitants instead of just an unmarried couple choosing to live together.
Despite the lack of clarity on cohabitation in UK law, many people are choosing to adopt this type of household. It’s due to the evolution of societal, economic, and religious motives for marriage, as well as the expenses involved in hosting a wedding and the increase in divorces. Today, couples prefer to test the waters while living together, but cohabitation has its share of disadvantages.
The Risks Involved in Cohabitation under UK Law
When you’re cohabiting with your partner, you have to face the risks involved in the breakdown of your relationship. While there will be no divorce proceedings, you might have to divide your shared assets and more. Whether you are about to move in with your partner or deciding to part ways with them, you should consider if you have an understanding of what assets belong to which party and what might happen if your home is under one party’s name despite both the parties having paid its mortgage and many other concerns.
How You Can Protect Yourself When Cohabiting with Your Partner
When you learn more about what cohabitation is under UK law, you can discover multiple ways to protect your interests in such a relationship. For instance, you can find a qualified attorney to draft a TA Cohabitation Agreement for you and your partner. The couple can include all of their contingencies in case of death or separation. It will be a mutually agreed-upon plan that can include individually owned and joint property, assets, child arrangements, finances, and more. With such an agreement, you can benefit from financial protection and the fair division of related and familial obligations.
Additionally, you can get a declaration of trust drafted for your property purchases to confirm who owns the property. This trust will reflect your unique agreement and propositions for the value and equity of the property. It formally records every wish of all involved parties to mitigate the risk of future disagreements.
Lastly, make a valid will and study the requirements of Child Maintenance Services to ensure your children’s best interests are taken care of in case of separation from your partner. A seasoned attorney will be able to help you go into such an arrangement with a sound mind and protect all your interests from the get-go.