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Vines Legal Limited

Matrimonial & Family Law Specialists

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Cohabitation versus Marriage is a debate raised often, particularly from a legal standpoint. While both have their benefits, couples often choose to avoid marriage and instead chose to cohabit instead.

Cohabitation is a complex area of family law and one that doesn’t have a clear position from a legal perspective as each aspect is treated differently.

Property ownership for example, means that often cohabitating couples do not hold equal rights to the property, with traditionally, only one of the party completing the legal ownership.

When couples first make the decision to move in together, we encourage you to be clear you both understand who is buying/renting and whether you are paying one or other rent or splitting equally down the middle. Joint rental and mortgage agreements are great, but you must ensure you draw up an agreement detailing what happens if you split. If you aren’t co-owners or both named occupiers on your rental agreement then you have no rights to stay in that property, or to any money from the sale if you split.

Inheritance is another problem area, with hundreds of horror stories printed through the press. Just because couples live together doesn’t mean they are legally entitled to any inheritance when one passes away, in fact often the settlement is sent directly to blood relatives. We encourage everyone to seriously consider the impact of this and draw up provisions in a will.

Money problems are the biggest cause of arguments in any relationship – Cohabitation often facilitates this when joint responsibility of bills and living expenses come into effect. We recommend you have separate accounts for personal money, and anything joint will require both parties signatures to initiate closure of the account as the best resolve in this situation.

At Vines Legal, we often work with couples cohabiting and can advise you before you take the leap to come and discuss your requirements to put the right legal agreements in place to safeguard you both, come and talk to the team today on 01246 555 610.

By Claire Clark on 4 Jul 2013, 14:23 PM

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