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Living together

More and more couples are choosing to live together and share their lives without getting married. And whilst emotionally, you may feel no different to a married couple; under the law, couples that live together without getting married do not share the same legal rights as those who marry. This can make things difficult if the relationship breaks down in the future particularly in regards to finance and property. And if children are involved, it’s important to protect their future too.

Points to consider when moving in together:


  1. Seek legal advice before you buy a property together
  2. Think about a Deed of Trust
  3. Ensure you have a will, to indicate your wishes with regards to the property after your death
  4. Consider a Cohabitation Agreement, as detailed below
  5. Review your circumstances and agreements regularly, particulaly before any major life events such as a new arrival or a move abroad
  6. Find a reputable family law specialist- if you are local to Tyne & Wear, book an appointment with us today on 01912 836 413


So even if splitting up is the last thing on your mind right now, it’s sensible to plan for the future by creating a living together agreement (sometimes called a cohabitation agreement). This will give you the peace of mind that however your relationship may change in the future, both people will be legally protected. You’ll know where you stand and if the worst happens and your relationship does break down, the legal implications will be one less thing to worry about.

A cohabitation agreement can provide a good starting point for most cohabiting couples. Financial issues are often at the top of the agenda, so a good starting point would be to include:

The rights of each person in relation to the property you live in

  • Ownership of other assets
  • Who is responsible for any debts
  • Sharing expenses while you live together

A cohabitation agreement is not legally binding, but it is evidence of your ‘intention’ and would be proof of ‘intention’ in any future legal proceedings. To give your cohabitation agreement more weight with the Court, both you and your partner should take independent legal advice before entering into it.

You and your partner should strongly consider making a will. Without one on your death your partner will have no right to the property or any other assets you own individually in your own name.

  • If you own your property as joint tenants and one of you were to die, then your share automatically passes to the other joint owner
  • If you own a property as  tenants in common, on your death your share passes to whoever you have bequeathed it to under your Will. If you have not left a Will then your share would go to that persons next of kin. Which could be the person's estranged wife/husband.


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