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Please Note: W. Davies Solicitors have now closed their Family Department.

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Family

Cohabitation Agreements & Disputes

There has been a huge increase in cohabiting couples over the last decade.

Unfortunately, couples often do not take legal advice when making joint financial decisions such as buying a house. This oversight can cause problems in the event of a breakdown of the parties’ relationship.

Cohabitation Agreements and Declarations of Trust

The law treats married and unmarried couples differently. So if a cohabiting couple’s relationship breaks down, they do not have the same financial rights as a married couple would have. There is no such thing as the ‘common-law husband or wife’. As such the Courts will not take into account the length of time you have lived together or even if one of the parties has contributed to the household by raising children.

Therefore, to avoid a contentious dispute in the future, it is very important that the couple’s intentions in relation to contributions towards any financial assets are recorded. In this respect, Cohabitation Agreements (“living together” agreements) and Declarations of Trust can be entered into, to record the intentions of both people in the couple. Setting out, in clear terms, what is to happen if the couple separate at a later date, can save huge costs and misunderstandings in the future.

If a dispute arises

What if a financial dispute between co-habitees arises, but no legal document defining each party’s financial interest exists? In such a case, we are able to advise you on reaching a settlement with your former partner. There are legal principles which set out how property should be divided and a settlement can be negotiated or, if needs be, Court proceedings can be issued. Court proceedings should be a last resort. As such, we may refer you to mediation to try to resolve matters.

 

For further information on Cohabitation Agreements, Declarations of Trust, or disputes, or to arrange a FREE INITIAL MEETING with a Family Solicitor in Woking please contact June Reid at jmr@wdavies.com, or telephone 01483 744900,