Copyright Moore Barlow LLP (Moore Blatch and Barlow Robbins merged May 2020)

Have you taken the cohabitation plunge due to lockdown?

Many couples have taken the romantic or maybe the practical decision to live together during the lockdown so they can still see each other. This may have been considered slightly premature in normal circumstances, maybe because your relationship is not a particularly long one or because you haven’t quite worked out how the bills are going to be split between you yet.  

If you are the partner who owns the property (or perhaps your adult child is the property owner) be very wary.

Cohabitation can create some legal claims that you may not have been aware of. Don’t assume that because you are not married that your cohabiting partner cannot make a claim for a share of the house if your relationship later breaks down (even if it is in your name only).

Once COVID-19 passes, the legalities of your cohabitation may be brought into sharp focus. It may be that during the time you cohabited your partner paid your mortgage or bills or helped with maintenance/decoration work that you couldn’t afford to finish. It could be that your income reduced substantially, and your cohabiting partner stepped up to fill that gap and make ends meet. If you are not clear with each other about financial contributions and what they amount to legally, it may cause you problems later down the line if your relationship ends.

Essentially, be clear about whether any financial contributions from your partner are intended to give them a legal interest in your property. If you don’t want them to, then say so and be clear about it – don’t simply avoid the conversation as your partner may be thinking something completely different. Ideally have your intentions recorded at the outset in writing with a Cohabitation Agreement. If drafted correctly they can provide you with assurance and future clarity you need. In this tricky climate, Moore Blatch are very much ‘business as usual’ so you can rest assured that if you need a Cohabitation Agreement it can be drafted quickly, easily and remotely.

If you are in any doubt about how cohabitation could affect you and your property, get in touch with one of our family experts on 023 8071 8000.


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