Couples who live together and are unmarried do not acquire the same legal rights as married couples, despite how long they may live together. This comes as a surprise to most people but within England and Wales “common law” marriage just doesn’t exist.
This is why it is especially important for any unmarried couples considering moving in together draw up a co-habitation agreement, particularly if you are a high net worth individual with large amounts of wealth and assets. Co-habitation agreements can also be prepared after you have moved in with your partner. Co-habitation agreements are important in the event of a relationship breakdown as they enable you to make sure that you and your assets are fully protected.
The law in England and Wales is currently in a state of change on this issue and it is possible for someone living with you to gain an equitable interest in your property without your express agreement. However, these situations can turn into complex and costly legal disputes, so it is sensible to put a co-habitation agreement in place in order to avoid this.
If there is no co-habitation agreement in place each party will be deemed to own only what they have obtained through law or contract, not taking into account the relationship of the two parties. This means it is very important to make sure that an agreement as to who owns what percentage of the property is reached through a co-habitation agreement.
We can advise you on the legal issues surrounding the setting up of a co-habitation agreement to make sure your interests and wealth are protected. This will involve a discussion between both co-habiting parties as to their expectations and will end in a written agreement between the two parties. Our expert solicitors will guide you through the process from start to finish and ensure you enter a legally binding contract.
We can make sure that your interests, both current and future, in property/properties are protected and we can even advise you of how to make sure that a partner does not acquire any interest on your property or properties at all.
We specialise in advising high net worth individuals with international assets and are able to advise how these would impact your co-habitation agreement. We would recommend allowing at least one month to enter into a co-habitation agreement although this can turn into a much lengthier process if both parties don’t agree.