Our Services

Cohabitation Agreement Solicitors

Do you live with your partner but aren’t married or in a civil partnership? We can help you take vital steps to protect yourself and your financial interests.

At Johnson Astills, our family team supports calls for a change to the law to protect the increasing number of couples who choose to live together before, or instead of, marriage.  In the meantime, there is no legal status to support the phrase ‘common law’ husband or wife. If you cohabit with your partner, you have fewer legal rights than married couples or civil partners, no matter how long you have been together.

This means that if your relationship breaks down, as cohabitants, you cannot expect fairness from the law – you have no right to support payments (except for children) or pension sharing. Additionally, unless you own your property towards in joint names, it can be extremely difficult to establish ownership to secure a fair share.

The best way to protect your financial interests is to make a cohabitation agreement which will set out how you want your assets and finances to be divided if your relationship ends.

We regularly help couples prepare cohabitation agreements. We can talk you through all your options, including what will happen to your family home, how bills will be paid, who your pets will live with, and how personal belongings will be divided between you.

We fully appreciate that discussing the idea of breaking up isn’t fun for any couple. We will approach your matter sensitively, using our years of experience to help you come to an agreement as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Please contact our cohabitation agreement solicitors by giving us a call at your local branch in Leicester or Loughborough. Alternatively, please fill in our enquiry form and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.

What is a cohabitation agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is a contract between you and your partner that sets out:

  • Who owns what and in what proportions
  • How you will manage your finances while you live together, e.g. responsibility for bills, rent, mortgage and/or debts
  • How your finances will be arranged and divided if you decide to break up in the future

Why enter into a cohabitation agreement?

Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a ‘common law marriage’ or ‘common law partners’. If you and your partner are not married or in a civil partnership, you do not have the same legal rights as married couples and civil partners. For example:

  • You do not have the right to claim any of your partner’s assets, such as their savings, property, pensions, or personal belongings
  • You do not have the right to claim maintenance payments other than child support payments
  • If your family home is owned solely by your partner, they do not have to consider giving you a share, even if you contributed towards bills or made repairs

A cohabitation agreement can help you avoid much of the unfairness that comes with choosing to cohabit over getting married or entering into a civil partnership. You can make it clear who owns what and set out exactly how you want your assets to be divided if you separate in the future.

Are cohabitation agreements legally binding in the UK?

A cohabitation agreement can be legally binding and enforceable in court provided it fulfils certain legal requirements. You and your partner will both need to be completely honest about your finances prior to making the agreement and should have both obtained independent legal advice. This means that we cannot act for both you and your partner – they will need to get their own solicitor.

Why choose our cohabitation agreement solicitors?

At Johnson Astills, we are committed to providing excellent standards of client care and producing the best possible results for individuals across Leicestershire.

We are members of the Law Society Family Law Advanced Accreditation scheme for our skills in high level family law matters, such as matters involving complex and international finances. Among our talented family lawyers, Emma Mitchell is a Family Law Advanced accredited specialist.

Several of our team – Emma Mitchell and Joanne Donald – are members of Resolution, an organisation of family law professionals dedicated to promoting constructive and amicable solutions to family matters.

Emma is also a qualified collaborative lawyer. Collaborative law is a process that allows families to sit down to discuss family law matters in a safe, neutral environment. We can provide advice about using collaborative law to help you negotiate your cohabitation agreement if appropriate – it can be particularly helpful for couples with complex finances, such as high value and international assets.

Our firm is accredited by the Law Society in Lexcel, the legal practice quality mark for firms that demonstrate the highest standards of client care and legal practice management.

We are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Get in touch with our cohabitation agreement solicitors in Leicester and Loughborough

For advice about cohabitation agreements for unmarried partners, give us a call at your local branch in Leicester or Loughborough. Alternatively, please fill in our enquiry form and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.