Over the last 20 years there has been an increasing trend in couples living together as opposed to getting married. Many couples believe that there is little point in getting married as they do not need a piece of paper to prove their love and commitment to one another.
What many couples do not realise is that piece of paper, the marriage certificate, secures them certain rights within the relationship which they can then legally enforce if the relationship breaks down. For example, rights in relation to property, pensions, income and capital such as savings and investments.
When relationships break down it can be a stressful and emotional time without also having to worry about who gets what. Here at King Street one of our experienced family solicitors can provide advice on what you are entitled to as well as negotiate on your behalf and assist you in resolving issues between you and your ex-partner in relation to the following areas which can often be in dispute:
Property – We can advise you on any rights you may have if you were co-habiting in a property where it was jointly owned or in the sole name of one of you. Many people assume that if the property was in the sole name of their ex-partner that they will not be entitled to any share however there are certain circumstances in which you may still be entitled to some of the beneficial interest in the property.
Contents – Most couples are able to resolve disputes about contents and joint possessions without any legal assistance. If however you are in a position where this has not been possible we can advise you on the mediation process and other more formal routes.
Liabilities – It is not unusual for co-habiting couples to have joint bank accounts or joint mortgage accounts. Once a relationship comes to an end you should close any joint accounts as soon as possible. We can offer you advice and assistance on how to achieve this as it is not always as straight forward as due to issues such as mortgage liability in respect of unsecured loans.
How can you protect yourself from the start if you are thinking of cohabiting with your partner?
A cohabitation agreement is one way in which cohabitees can clearly establish from the start their intentions in respect of property matters. Our specialists can advise you on the nature of such an agreement although it is important to bear in mind that it is not a legally enforceable document. That being said if you are thinking of entering into such an agreement you should have it signed as a deed to evidence that you intended to create legal relations when entering in to it.
It is helpful for each cohabitee to provide the other with full and frank financial disclosure so that you both know the other’s financial circumstances.
Contact our Cohabitation Agreements Solicitors in Wakefield on 01924 332395 or in Pontefract on 01977 705762.