While it may not be romantic, drawing up a cohabitation agreement can show you care about having fairness and a secure future for your partner.

Today, many couples choose to live together without getting married or entering a civil partnership. In the past, this could lead to complications in dividing assets at the end of a relationship, but with declaration of trusts, cohabitation agreements and separation rights, protecting assets is not nearly as complicated as it once was.

Do I need a declaration of trust or a cohabitation agreement?

Declarations of trust usually document the proportions in which property is held and what should happen to the proceeds of a sale if the property is sold. Cohabitation agreements, on the other hand, are more comprehensive and usually dictate what should happen if a relationship breaks down.

Couples enter into a cohabitation agreement for many different reasons. It could be that you or your partner has funded a larger share of the house, and you would like to be reflected in an agreement. Or perhaps you want to make it clear exactly how much each of you should pay towards the mortgage, household running costs and property repairs if the relationship comes to an end.

For many couples, having an agreement in place helps to lessen the likelihood of future disputes and can even put to bed those awkward discussions around property ownership and responsibilities.

Here to help with family law Burnett Barker

Cohabitation agreement expertise

Our experienced cohabitation agreement lawyers have the expertise to help protect your security. Simply contact us today to find out what your options are.

What happens if my relationship has already broken down and I have a dispute?

When a married couple cannot agree between themselves how their financial assets should be divided, family courts can step in to ensure equality and fairness. But the same cannot be said for cohabitating couples, even if they share children. The laws guiding judges on unmarried couples fall under ‘civil law’ rather than family legislation.

If you have a cohabitation agreement already in place, handling a dispute is far less complicated. The main asset you share is likely to be your home. But what are your options if you do not have an agreement or a declaration of trust?

What usually happens in the event of a dispute of property ownership is that solicitors will look to the trusts of land and appointment of Trustee’s act 1996. Known as a TLATA case, the presumption is that the property is held in the way it is recorded.

You may see this is unfair if you’ve been contributing financially to the mortgage and running costs of the property, even if the property is solely held in your partner’s name. Our family law solicitors can advise you on whether you have strong enough case to show “equitable interest” in the property. This is where it can be shown that you have contributed financially to the mortgage or have spent money improving the property and thereby increasing its value.

We can also advise you on what your options are should you decide to leave a property you jointly own. Who continues to pay the mortgage and other bills and what bearing could this have on the balance of the proceeds of the sale of a house being fairly distributed?

How our constructive approach to family law can help

When a relationship breaks down, it can be an emotional time. Our preferred way to resolve issues is to help you come to an agreement without going to court.  This is by far the most cost-effective and least stressful way of finding a solution that works for you and your family, especially when children are involved.

Our family law solicitors will take the time to listen to you and your concerns and draft a separation agreement you can feel comfortable with.

Reach out to us today to find out what your options are

Whether you’re about to move in together or have already been living together for some time, we can draft a cohabitation agreement to give contractual certainty over financial matters. And if life has taken an unexpected turn and you find yourself in a cohabitation dispute, we can help.

Discover your options for a fixed fee

If you want to know where you stand and what your options are, we offer a one-to-one family law consultation for a fixed fee of £149. Most clients discover something they were unaware of in this consultation, which reaffirms how important it is to find out what your options are.

Simply call Burnett Barker Solicitors on 01284 701131. You can also send us a message, or pop in and see us at 20 Whiting Street, Bury St Edmunds - we have free parking on site!

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