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Cohabitation Agreement Solicitors

If you are an unmarried couple living together, then you could be putting yourself at risk if you were ever to separate. You have no automatic legal rights towards each other’s assets, so you could lose out financially if your relationship ends. Making a cohabitation agreement is the best way to protect yourself against this possibility.

At Sharp Family Law, we regularly help cohabiting couples to create fair, pragmatic agreements about what should happen if they ever separate. While this can seem unromantic, we believe this can strengthen a relationship by providing both of you with a sense of security, as well as removing a significant source of potential tension.

Our approach is sensitive and supportive, while ensuring you fully understand your legal options with everything explained in plain English. We will make sure your rights are protected with a robust agreement that is fair to you and your partner.

Our expert cohabitation solicitors can assist with matters including:

  • Negotiating and drafting cohabitation agreements
  • Independent advice on cohabitation agreements
  • Declarations of trust
  • The application of cohabitation agreements during a separation
  • Cohabitation disputes

Speak to our cohabitation agreement solicitors in Bristol, Bath and Bradford on Avon

For expert legal advice on cohabitation agreements, please get in touch with our experts today.

To arrange an initial meeting, whether that is in person or remotely, please contact our local offices in Bristol, Bath and Bradford on Avon or use our simple online enquiry form to request a call back.

Our cohabitation agreement services

Negotiating and drafting cohabitation agreements

You may have a clear idea of what you want your cohabitation agreement to look like or you may be looking for guidance on what is fair and reasonable. In either eventuality, our expert cohabitation agreement solicitors can advise and support you, helping you to agree sensible terms with your partner. We can then draft a legally sound agreement that clearly sets out your wishes.

Independent advice on cohabitation agreements

Before signing a cohabitation agreement, both parties should get independent legal advice. This helps to ensure the agreement is fair to each of your interests and that nothing has been overlooked. We will be happy to provide independent advice on an agreement you have negotiated with your partner or that they have asked you to sign.

Declarations of trust

Should you buy a property with your partner, the automatic position under the law is that you will each own a 50% share of the property, even if you have contributed different amounts to the deposit and/or mortgage payments.

A declaration of trust can be used to specify a different share of ownership so that the contributions each of you make is then fairly reflected in what percentage of the property you own. Our team can draft a declaration of trust for you either alongside a cohabitation agreement or as a separate matter.

The application of cohabitation agreements during a separation

In the event of a separation where you have a cohabitation agreement in place, it can be very valuable to seek advice on the agreement from a legal expert. This is especially true if you feel the terms of the agreement are no longer fair or you are concerned that your partner may dispute the terms. Alternatively, you may simply have questions about how the agreement will apply to your current circumstances.

Our cohabitation solicitors can review an agreement for you and advise on its terms. If we believe the agreement is unfair, we can support you in negotiating with your partner to agree an alternative division of assets.

Cohabitation disputes

It is, sadly, fairly common for disputes to arise during the separation of unmarried couples who have been living together. These cohabitation disputes can be particularly difficult to unpick, especially where there is disagreement over who owns what, what contribution each person made to the relationship and exactly what rights each party has.

Our experts work proactively to resolve such issues in the best way for your interests, while always taking into account the manner in which you wish to approach the matter. We have strong skills in constructive negotiation and alternative dispute resolution, so can often achieve favourable outcomes without the need for contentious court proceedings.

However, where the need arises, we will make sure that you have the very best representation if matters do escalate to court.

Frequently asked questions about cohabitation agreements

What is a cohabitation agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is a legal document that sets out how an unmarried couple’s assets would be divided in the event of a separation. It can also cover other matters, such as who would stay in the family home and how this would be managed e.g. how much time the person moving out would be given to find somewhere else to live. Additionally, a cohabitation agreement can include arrangements for any children you have if you were to separate.

Cohabitation agreements are also sometimes referred to as ‘living together agreements’.

Why would I need a cohabitation agreement?

If you are living with your partner and you are not married or in a civil partnership, then a cohabitation agreement can be a very good idea. They are particularly important if you own a property together, one of you is financially dependent on the other and/or if you have children together.

Essentially, a cohabitation agreement is worth making if you are worried what would happen if you separated and if you feel that the way your shared assets would be divided under the law would not be fair. This is something on which it is sensible to get expert legal advice.

What does a cohabitation agreement cover?

Cohabitation agreements are generally used to cover three main issues, depending on which of them are relevant to a particular couple’s circumstances. These issues are:

  • What will happen to the family home
  • How any other assets would be divided
  • Arrangements for any children the couple has

It is important to get bespoke legal advice to make sure your agreement matches your specific needs and circumstances.

Can a cohabitation agreement be enforced in court?

As long as a cohabitation agreement is properly prepared, signed and witnessed, then it is a legally binding contract and thus can be enforced in court. That said, it is important to understand that a court could decide to vary or set aside the terms of the agreement if it feels that they are unfair to either party or any children they have. This is why it is so important that each person signing the agreement has the proper legal advice.

How much does a cohabitation agreement cost?

The cost of a cohabitation agreement will vary depending on your requirements but they can typically be prepared for a fixed fee, giving you certainty over the costs involved.

If you would like to find out how much we would charge for a cohabitation agreement, please get in touch.

Why choose Sharp Family Law’s cohabitation solicitors?

As one of the largest dedicated family law firms in the Bath and Bristol area, Sharp Family Law offers a wealth of expertise and experience. Whatever the specifics of your situation, we can provide a carefully tailored service that takes into account your individual needs and goals.

Independent recognition for our expertise includes:

  • We are ranked by leading client guides the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners
  • Several of our team are members of Resolution– the professional network for family lawyers committed to taking a non-confrontational approach to family law
  • Richard Sharp is a trained collaborative lawyer and family mediator in both the UK and the USA

To find out more about our expertise, please take a look at our family law team.

Speak to our cohabitation agreement solicitors in Bristol, Bath and Bradford on Avon

For expert legal advice on cohabitation agreements, please get in touch with our experts today.

To arrange an initial meeting, whether that is in person or remotely, please contact our local offices in Bristol, Bath and Bradford on Avon or use our simple online enquiry form to request a call back.