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Cohabiting creates significant legal issues should the union end in separation.
If you are planning cohabitation, while the possibility of separation may be the last thing on your mind, it’s worth considering drawing up some form of cohabitation agreement. Cohabiting couples often assume that living together as a couple creates similar rights and responsibilities as marriage – or none at all. Both beliefs are wrong.
Cohabitation does not generally give you automatic rights to each other’s property. And if your partner dies, cohabiting does not entitle you to inherit. Conversely, if a cohabiting couple separate and there are children involved, then both cohabiting partners may have rights and responsibilities – even if only one of them is their biological parent.
A cohabitation agreement addresses these issues from the outset. Cohabiting couples can agree how financial issues should be handled. At the same time as drawing up a cohabitation agreement, you may also want to look at issues such as drawing up new wills and considering taking on parental responsibility for any stepchildren.
Our family law team can advise on all these aspects of personal law.