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What is Cohabitation?

Cohabitation is a term used to describe unmarried couples who are in a relationship and live together. It can apply to both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships. If you and your partner share a home but are not married or in a civil partnership, you are classed as a cohabiting couple.

What is a cohabiting relationship?

Despite cohabitation being common in the UK (one in five relationships), there is no cohabitation definition in UK law and the term can refer to any number of cohabitants. Unsurprisingly partners who choose not to get married, or register a civil partnership have fewer legal rights than those who marry.

Some couples who cohabit believe themselves to be in a “common law marriage”, but there is no such thing in law and cohabitees do not currently have the same rights and protection as a married/civil partnership couple.

Cohabitation Agreement 

Cohabitees are able to protect their interests by way of a Cohabitation Agreement which is essentially a contract that formalises what the couple wishes to happen if they separate in the future. Cohabitation Agreements can be particularly helpful and offer parties protection in respect of any assets they have. 

This is a complex area of the law and we recommend that you contact one of our specialist family lawyers to discuss your particular needs.

By discussing your wishes at an early stage and formally establishing shared plans and objectives in a Cohabitation Agreement, you can ensure equal protection for both you and your partner, as well as significantly reduce the potential for disagreements and any financial insecurity in the future.

Cohabitation Agreements should be agreed upon and set up before you and your partner move in together. This will set out clear responsibilities and ownership for your property and finances from day one. 

However, if you haven’t set up an agreement prior to moving, it is not too late to set one up. Cohabitation agreements are equally beneficial for unmarried couples that already live together and want to formally record their wishes.

How Henry Hyams family law solicitors can help with our services for cohabitees

Our specialist cohabitee lawyers have the experience and expertise to guide you through property rights for unmarried couples and any issues that you may be experiencing. 
Should you have any questions or would like to talk to one of our cohabitation solicitors in Leeds, please contact us on the email below or contact us on 0113 2432288.

Contact our Leeds Cohabitation Law solicitors:


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