Cohabiting couples: what if the relationship ends?

While it is unlikely that you will have moved in with your partner with the intention of splitting up someday, it may happen.

If it does, it can create some issues for you regarding who has the rights to the property you both live in.

Cohabitation Agreements

The best way to avoid any unnecessary disputes in the event of a breakup between you and your partner is to create a Cohabitation Agreement.

This will decide who has the rights to the property you are living in and can also set out what you contribute to the household during your relationship.

By making a Cohabitation Agreement you can avoid the uncertainty that often occurs after a breakup.

It may seem counterproductive to make a Cohabitation Agreement while you are still together and happily so but it will ultimately prevent any difficult arguments or issues in the event that you and your partner do split.

This agreement may sound straightforward but you must employ a legal professional to draft it up as it needs to be enforceable in court.

What if we don’t have a Cohabitation Agreement and we break up?

Often, a property dispute will begin.

If a couple live together in a property that was already owned by one of you before the other moved in, this can cause some disagreement after a breakup.

However, there are ways for the person who did not own the property to claim a share of it by demonstrating a ‘beneficial interest’.

This can be shown through any significant financial contributions that were made toward the home by the person who does not own the property such as making mortgage repayments.

Pursuing a claim of beneficial interest is a complicated and expensive process and you may not receive the result you want in the end.

A Cohabitation Agreement is a much more efficient and effective method of protecting your rights to property, despite seeming unromantic.

For more advice on this and to discuss Cohabitation Agreements, contact us today.

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