COHABITATION AGREEMENT – 6 Tips to keep the Love !   

With more and more couples now deciding to move in together and cohabit before considering any question of marriage the Cohabitation Agreement has become a must for all such situations.

While nobody thinks that their beloved partner will do anything but operate with the best intention basically in the absence of a marriage you are in a business transaction between two adults.

There are a number of issues which you must consider which are essential to the stability of any relationship.  Very often people fall out over the simplest of things and the obvious ones are money and property.  It can be a situation where one person already has a property and a new partner moves in.

Straight away a commercial arrangement is in existence.

This  needs to be put down in writing so that each party understands where they are. Are they renting or staying without payment of contribution to Bills?

The “love goes out the door when problems come in” situation can often confront couples and they find that they have not sorted their situation by any agreement and they are left with no alternative but to try and mediate out some agreement or worse still have to dispute the matter in a Court Case.

The benefit of having an agreement in advance is that each party knows where they stand and it also gives a fair indication to each as to what the other is like when it comes to negotiating over money and property or if they are capable of any agreement or compromise at all.  It could be said it is a good trial run for how you would get on in a challenging situation which may arise in any later marriage.

In our experience dealing with Cohabitation Agreements these are the main headings which you must consider. There are other headings which we would normally put into our standard agreement to guide parties.

  • Agree to be bound by Agreement.   The first and most important clause is that both parties agree to be bound by the agreement and it is to outline the financial arrangements made between them.  This may seem self-evident but like any agreement it has to simply outline what it is about.
  • Assets and Liabilities. People must clearly and honestly outline what assets they have at the time of coming into the partnership and also any liabilities or loans.  This is necessary to tell the other party in case there are any major other items which have to be paid in priority to any perhaps mortgage payment contributions so each party knows what they are getting into.
  • Independent Legal Advice  This is necessary for both parties. Like all contracts or agreements it is necessary that you are advised about what you are getting into before you sign your name to it for which you will be bound.  The agreement normally inserts the actual name of the legal advisor.
  • The 3 C’s ….You then have what I call The 3Cs, the date of commencement, the consideration given for the agreement, and the third C is confidentiality.  The parties agree to keep matters strictly to themselves and not involve other people.
  •  Any contribution made has to be identified. In relation to property assets any contribution   made has to be identified. For example somebody may not be making a mortgage contribution but may carry out work on a property which they move into.  This must be itemised and some value put on it to be paid out if the relationship breaks down.  For example this could mean that when one party moves out of a property within a time limit of receiving a notice in writing from the other party that would constitute a breakdown and the provisions of the agreement would come into place.
  • Contribution towards obtaining Legal AdviceCost of this might also be a factor if one party has more substantial assets or wealth than the other.  Some agreements make provision for the legal independent advice to be paid by the wealthier party.

The above 6 provisions are headings under which in each particular circumstances must be considered in relation to any agreement that couples should enter into as a matter of importance when they commence a living together arrangement.

The alternative is stress, hassle and bitterness where people have not organised a very simple agreement at a suitable time.

As usual if any of these issues effect you please get in touch