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Couples are increasingly live together these days without marrying or entering civil partnerships. Whilst this is clearly socially acceptable in the 21st century, people are often ignorant of the fact that cohabiting couples still do not have the same legal rights as those who have married or entered civil partnerships.
In some cases, couples who have lived together for many years assume that when the relationship comes to an end, they will be entitled to a financial settlement merely because of the length of the relationship. This is not the case. Unfortunately, and all too often, they only become aware of this after the relationship breaks down or sometimes when their partner dies. This can become even more of an issue where there are children who need to be provided for.
Where the property in which the couple have been residing is registered in the name of just one of the couple, but the other person has contributed financially to its purchase or improvement, that person may be still able to claim an interest in the property to reflect their contribution. This can also have implications not only for person who is the legal owner, but also for family members of the owner who have been left the property under his/her Will.
It is important that all these issues are considered and preferably before the parties decide to cohabit. We always recommend that consideration is given to the couple setting out what the financial arrangements are going to be and what is intended in respect of the parties’ interests in any property. This can be done in a Cohabitation Agreement drawn up by one party’s solicitor and signed by both parties after the other has had independent legal advice. This way complex and costly disputes should be avoided.
Our cohabitation law services
Fixed fee cohabitation agreements
In many cases, we can create a cohabitation agreement for a fixed price agreed upfront. This is likely to be an option where your circumstances are relatively straightforward and both partners agree in principle on the contents of the agreement.
We will be happy to discuss this with you during your initial appointment.
Where there are more complex matters to sort out, or you and your partner cannot agree on the contents of the agreement, we may need to charge you according to an hourly rate.
We will advise you of our rates during your initial appointment and agree all work involved in dealing with your cohabitation agreement as matters progress, so you can keep complete control over the cost involved.
Cohabitation dispute resolution
If you and your partner or former partner are involved in a dispute over any issues related to cohabitation, our highly effective family dispute resolution service can help you find a positive way forward.
Our family lawyers have strong skills in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), including mediation, so we can usually help resolve even the most complicated cohabitation disputes without the need for court proceedings.
If mediation is not appropriate, or this has already been tried elsewhere, we have the relevant expertise to assist you in a number of ways in taking the appropriate action to achieve a settlement through court proceedings, whether this is with full representation or advice “behind the scenes”.
Why choose Wheelers solicitors for your cohabitation matter?
Since 1978, we have been helping clients across Surrey, Hampshire and the surrounding area to deal with issues related to cohabitation. We know how important it is to achieve the right legal solution for your needs and those of your loved ones, so can provide sensitive, practical advice tailored to your unique requirements.
Our team includes several members of Resolution, an organisation committed to taking a non-confrontational approach to family law matters. This reflects our commitment to removing conflict from family law, including issues around cohabitation.
We are accredited by Resolution for Family Law in recognition of the particular strength of our legal practice in this area. We are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) providing assurance that we continually meet the highest legal standards.
Speak to our solicitors in Surrey and Hampshire about cohabitation law
For expert assistance with drafting or reviewing a cohabitation agreement, or any other area of cohabitation law, please contact one of our family law experts