How To Avoid A Costly Cohabitation Breakup

While we see plenty of celebrity couples opting to cohabit rather than commit to marriages, the chances are that at least some of these relationships will be bound by a co-habitation agreement. This allows couples to work out who is entitled to what if a relationship breaks down.

The number of co-habiting couples in the UK continues to rise fast. The number has almost tripled since 1996 from 1.5 million to 3.3 million and now represents 17.5% of all family arrangements in the UK.

Unfortunately, a significant proportion of co-habiting couples are unaware of their legal rights with 26% mistakenly believing that they have ‘common law marriage’ rights equal to those of married couples. This certainly isn’t the case and if a relationship breaks down the actual status of relationships will be brought into sharp focus.

If for example a co-habiting couple own their home as joint tenants, then regardless of who invested the most into the property, it would be split 50/50 following a breakup of the relationship. 50% of a property would also be automatically be passed on to the other partner upon death.

Awareness of legal rights when it comes to children in the family is also poor with 73% of respondents in one survey unaware of what support they would be entitled to when being left to bring up children.

The mother and father of the children are required to contribute to the cost of bringing up children until they leave school or go on to attend University.

All of these uncertainties can be avoided by putting together a co-habitation agreement which removes many of the uncertainties that exist for couples who choose not to marry.