Cohabitation: The myths and maths of living together
Do you live with your partner? Are you unmarried? Family partner Sarah Anticoni and associate Emily Borrowdale explain what happens if it all ends in tears.
Cohabiting couples account for 16.4% of families today (that’s nearly three million people) and are the fastest growing family type in the UK, as more and more people shirk traditional notions of marriage. Despite this, there has been little development in the law to assist a cohabitee in the event of relationship breakdown. If you have bought property together, who owns what? How do you structure your mortgage repayments? Do you have a joint bank account to deal with utilities, and if so how much do you each contribute to that and when? How do you split it if you break up?
Emily points out that there is no such thing as the common-law spouse, despite 51% of the population thinking the contrary. More and more people are signing cohabitation agreements to define the financial parameters of their relationship, and to determine how they split their assets in the event of their relationship ending.
Sarah looks at cohabitation agreements which deals with land, property and financial assets, but can also include ‘softer’ terms such as defining contributions to household chores. Cohabitees need to be careful when thinking about including these softer terms as they can result in uncertainty about the parties’ intentions for the document to be legally binding. Each party needs to receive independent legal advice on the terms of the agreement, and understand the implication of forming a legally binding contract with their partner.
There are some limitations that extend beyond the power of a cohabitation agreement. Cohabitees do not benefit from the same tax legislation as married couples, and inheritance tax will be applicable if they leave their estate to a partner on death. It is always advised that parties draw up a Will and, if buying a property together, enter into a Declaration of Trust to record their distinctive shares, regardless of a cohabitation agreement.
Cohabitation agreements are extremely helpful documents for couples (or friends!) who want to formalise their current financial arrangements and put in place preventative measures to avoid potential arguments at a later stage.
This article was written by Sarah Anticoni and Emily Borrowdale. For more information please get in touch with Sarah on +44 (0)20 7203 5180 or Sarah.Anticoni@crsblaw.com, or Emily on +44 (0)20 7203 8865 or email@example.com.
Untangling the UK/Swiss Knot: Dealing with a cross border estate
What do the family need to think about following the death of a Swiss person with some UK connections?
Barclay v Barclay: A Stark Reminder for Badly Behaved High-Profile Litigants
David considers the Barclay v Barclay case and if the judgment should be published, given it's severe criticism of Lord Barclay's conduct
Felicity Chapman writes for eprivateclient on what happens when a party dies mid-way through a financial claim on or after a divorce
In the case of Hasan v Ul-Hasan, Mostyn J considered whether the wife could continue an application after the husband’s death.
To what extent is fault considered on a divorce?
What happens when a party dies mid-way through a financial claim on or after a divorce?
The impact of health issues when dealing with a financial claim on divorce
Celebrating Pride month - evolutions in family law
Predatory marriages - renewed call for reform
William Longrigg quoted by The Times and the Daily Mail on the High Court's ruling in Ayeh-Kumi v The Lord Chancellor & Anor
The High Court found that a wife was within her rights to divorce her husband because he worked long hours and missed holidays.
Joshua Green writes for City AM on dealing with cryptocurrency assets during a divorce
Divorces are complicated on many levels, but especially so when it comes dividing up and assigning financial assets and future payments.
Exclusion clauses in freezing orders
The principles illustrated in Crowther v Crowther and Moutreuil v Andreewitch.
Good things come to those who wait
From Bitcoin to Ethereum - Cryptocurrency on Divorce
Absent parents: when will the Family Court remove parental responsibility?
COVID - EFFECT ON FINANCIAL CLAIMS ON DIVORCE
Impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on arrangements for children of international families
Property Patter: cohabitees and property rights - what do couples need to think about?
It is easy to drift into complicated territory when it comes to property arrangements between a couple