What you need to know
Many couples choose to live together without marrying. Perhaps they will buy a house in joint names or both will live in a house owned by one party.
The decision to cohabit is a big step and there are financial implications to consider. That is particularly so if investments are being made into property.
For example, one party might finance the improvement of the family home, whilst it is held in the other party’s name.
Alternatively, a couple might purchase a home, but each of them might invest a different amount of money. It important to document the intentions of the parties.
One important consideration is the creation of a declaration of trust when a property is purchased. However, that may not be sufficient to cover all of the arrangements and agreements relating to the family finances.
In those circumstances, we recommend the creation of a carefully drafted cohabitation agreement.
It is a myth that you become someone’s “common law spouse” simply by living with that person for a long time.
Even if you live with them and make contributions to the purchase or improvement of a house, or the discharge of a mortgage, you may not gain the rights or interest in the property that you expect.
Trying to win those rights may be difficult, if not impossible, in the absence of a documented agreement. Before investing money into a property that is owned, or part-owned, by someone else, we would recommend that you seek advice from us.