Important considerations for cohabiting couples - Kuits Solicitors Manchester

Important considerations for cohabiting couples

Important considerations for cohabiting couples

15th January 2021 - Published by Kuits Family team

With the number of couples choosing to live together without being married rising year-on-year, and common law marriage not existing in England or Wales, cohabitees can often find themselves in tricky situations.

In this article we take a look at important considerations for the modern cohabiting family and how you can best look to protect yourself and your financial interests.

Common issues for cohabiting couples

Some issues that may arise for couples during a cohabiting relationship may include:

  • Relationship difficulties caused by a lack of understanding of the finances of the other, and who is expected to pay for what whilst the relationship continues
  • Obstacles being involved in the care and treatment plan of their partner should hospital treatment be required, however severe, as cohabitees are not automatically considered as next of kin
  • Not being provided for automatically if either predeceases the other without a will in place

Issues can also come up post-separation, including:

  • Concerns about where they are to live if the former family home was owned exclusively by their ex-partner who has now asked them to vacate
  • Concerns by either party that their ex-partner may try to raise a legal ownership of a financial interest in property owned exclusively by the other
  • Uncertainty as to how property is to be divided in the event of separation, including who might keep the former family home and the contents, or who should receive what if the property is sold, especially if there is dispute about who paid for what. Importantly, there will also be questions about who should be responsible for payments in the meantime.

How can I protect myself?

A cohabitation agreement is a flexible tool for cohabiting couples which can cover the arrangements that will apply while living together, as well as establishing what will happen should that relationship break down.

The substantive provision of the agreement will generally cover what is to happen regarding property, i.e. the home, bank accounts, personal possessions etc., expenses and contributions in the following situations:

1. During the currency of your relationship;
2. If one of you dies;
3. If one of you requires long term residential care;
4. You separate.

There is no standard pro forma documentation for this type of agreement which means that, for each of the above scenarios, the agreement can be completely tailored to your specific needs as a couple, and can be as detailed as you need it to – even down to who will keep the cat!

You should also think about reviewing your wills in advance of, or shortly after, setting up home together to ensure protections are in place for all scenarios.

Get in touch with a family solicitor in Manchester

If you are thinking of setting up home as a cohabiting couple or to talk about how you can best protect yourself against the potential problems highlighted above, please contact family solicitor Ayesha Griffin on 0161 838 8146 or email

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