Quite right! Despite numerous attempts to persuade Parliament to make legal reforms, an unmarried couple who live together, even with children, do not have the rights or protection they would have from a marriage (or a civil partnership).
This is certainly the case with cohabiting couples. It may seem too business like to take precautions against future problems but having a Cohabitation Agreement in place can certainly provide peace of mind in a happy relationship.
This is especially so if your home is only owned by one of you, or one of you invested more into your property than the other.
A Cohabitation Agreement can be as wide ranging or limited as you wish, dealing with issues concerning property, contributions to living expenses, investments, debts, items of value and your children.
You will be advised at the same time as signing up to a Cohabitation Agreement to ensure that your Will is up to date and consistent with the terms of the Agreement. It may be that you will need advice concerning a Trust Deed for the property you both live or are planning to buy which will make specific who owns what proportion and the terms of continuing residence.
We can put you in touch with speciality legal advisors in those areas for a comprehensive cohabitation package to anticipate any eventualities.
In the absence of any prior Cohabitation Agreement the breakdown of a cohabiting relationship can lead to a number of problems that we can help you with.
Your rights and responsibilities concerning your children are not very different for parents who live together or are married parents.
Your rights to shared property and money are different and can often prove to be a legal minefield.
Resorting to court proceedings to resolve cohabitation disputes is to be avoided if at all possible. We will advise you how best to achieve this, whilst ensuring that your interests are protected.