Everything You Need to Know about Cohabitation

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Cohabitation is getting increasingly popular in the UK, as for many it offers a comfortable solution to living with your partner without being married.

It has become such a popular choice that cohabiting couples now account for 17% of all UK families. That’s almost one in five couples choosing to share their home with a partner, without any official legal standing.

There are many attractive reasons to enter into a cohabitation agreement. For a start, it demands less commitment and obligation than a marriage or even civil partnership. Families who are ready to live together but perhaps can’t yet afford to get married, or have simply chosen to be unmarried, are finding a happy solution in cohabitation.

Naturally and unsurprisingly, there is a potential downside which is worth considering before entering into such an agreement. Living arrangements are not to be taken lightly after all – even without being married, it is still a big step, which you should be mutually sure of between you and your cohabiting partner.

It’s not unusual for cohabitation disputes to arise somewhere along the line, which is why Abacus Solicitors in Manchester has put together a detailed, honest and useful guide to cohabitation.

Consider all possibilities in cohabitation

This is not to say that cohabiting with your partner is a bad move, it has proved to be the opposite for thousands of couples all over the UK. But it’s wise to consider the possibilities and be aware of potential disadvantages. The main one, which is also the most obvious, is that you will have less legal rights than if you were a married couple. In the event of a breakup you aren’t very well equipped in any official manner. There is a lack of “marital” property, which you would need to be in acceptance of if you were to embark on cohabitation.

It’s worth noting also that (also in the event of a breakup), partners could in some cases be able to make a claim against the property based on mortgage payments that were made. Of course this is an unlikely and unfortunate circumstance to find yourself in, but it’s worth knowing.

It’s not all bad – here’s why couples love cohabiting

Cohabitation would not be so popular if it were all doom and gloom. Of course, there are really positive aspects to it. Everyone is different and no relationship is the same. At the end of the day it is up to each couple to decide for themselves if it is something that will benefit them.

One major advantage is that you save on the cost of an extravagant wedding, yet still reap the benefits and closeness of family life. If you are happy enough without investing in rings and ceremonies, but you still want to live under the same roof, then this is perhaps the perfect option for you.

Things to consider first

Planning is key when it comes to cohabitation. Sit down with your partner and make important decisions about how you are going to split your finances. Who will pay the council tax? Whose job is it to pay the electricity bill? There are other bills that might pop up along the way like a new broadband package or even the cost of decorating the kitchen. Whatever agreement you come to, making sure you have one in the very beginning is an effective way of avoiding disputes later on.

Your agreement can be strengthened still by getting a cohabitation agreement. This is a written document which you get directly from a solicitor, who can outline what happens in the case of a breakup or dispute.

Not that there will be one. May you cohabit with your partner happily ever after! Find out more here.


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