Cohabitation statistics show that this household trend is steadily increasing and will continue to do so over the coming years. If you’re considering cohabitation with your partner, or you simply want to know more about the statistics and laws surrounding it, our guide will give you all the information you need to know about cohabitation.
What is cohabitation?
Although there isn’t a specific legal definition of cohabitation, it is generally considered to mean living together with your partner without being married. It’s worth noting that cohabitation includes other living arrangements, such as sharing a home with friends or family.
The key facts you need to know about cohabitation
Cohabitation is a rising household trend in the UK, although many people are not aware of the key facts around it or what their legal rights are when cohabiting. Read our guide below for all the key facts you should be aware of when cohabiting.
Your cohabitation rights
Although 47% of Brits think that cohabiting couples have the same legal rights as married couples, this is not the case. Cohabitants’ rights stem from trust law and often the initial documentation can determine interests which have possibly evolved over a number of years.
Transfers and the Declaration of Trust
The majority of cohabitants will agree to purchase a property together and have it registered under both their names. In this scenario, you need to consider how much of a contribution each person made to the purchase.
By declaring in the transfer when you buy the property then you are owning it as beneficial joint tenants or tenants in common in equal shares, you are agreeing that each party will have an equal share of the property when it comes to being sold. If one party is putting down the whole deposit or will be paying the majority of the outgoings for the property then you should consider whether you want to protect this uneven contribution and to have a Trust Deed drawn up, or specify in the transfer that the property be held in unequal shares which should then be defined in more detail.
The other common occurrence is when a property is already owned by one party and another party agrees to move in with them. There are no automatic legal rights for cohabitants in this situation, but then equally, there is nothing to prevent a cohabitant from claiming an interest in a property. This can often lead to uncertain and difficult disputes should you split up further down the line.
The best way to protect your property or to ensure you get a share of the property if you have contributed, is to draw up a cohabitation agreement. This is a legally binding document, written up by a specialist solicitor, that outlines how your property, assets or any shared interests will be split should you break up in the future.
Things can change over time and so if there was a substantial change of circumstances, you may wish to consider whether it would be suitable to vary the terms of the cohabitation agreement – for example, if one party was paying a lump sum off the mortgage or another ceased contributing to the property due to unforeseen circumstances.
As a cohabitation agreement is legally binding, you can use this as evidence in court if you encounter a dispute with your current partner further down the line.
Whether you have a cohabitation agreement or not, it’s still possible that you may encounter difficulties with your partner in the future. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to appoint a specialist cohabitation disputes solicitor as soon as possible, who will help to mediate and resolve your dispute.
Here at Abacus Solicitors, our dispute resolution team has a wealth of experience in dealing with cohabitation disputes and can guide you to a positive resolution with your partner. Contact us at our Manchester office or Warrington office to find out more and see how we can help you.