Cohabitation Agreements

As a cohabitee you do not have the same automatic rights to property and assets as you would if you were married.

If the property you are living in is owned in the sole name of your partner, to be entitled to claim a share you will need to show that you have made a financial contribution to its purchase, or carried out renovations to the building or contributed in some way.

A Cohabitation Agreement specifies what happens to you and your partner’s finances if the relationship breaks down.

It is a common misconception that, after living together for a while, a couple become ‘common-law husband and wife’ with much the same rights as married couples. Until new laws are introduced to cover cohabiting couples who separate, a Cohabitation Agreement offers you and your partner the best protection.

We can advise you on the preparation of a Cohabitation Agreement. Please contact a member of our team in either our Camberley or Wokingham office for further advice.

If you already have an argument with your co-owner about property owned by you both or believe you have made a contribution that gives you a share in a property, you might need the assistance of our Dispute Resolution lawyers.

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Experience

  • Acting for an advising a client who had received significant gifts over the course of the marriage from the parents. The client was awarded in excess of 50% of the assets.
  • Acting for and advising a high net worth client who held business interests with their spouse. The value of the business became a point of contention during the course of financial remedy proceedings issued by the other party and it proved necessary to appoint a forensic accountant to report on the value of the company, liquidity and tax implications of a sale or transfer of shares from one party to the other.
  • Acting for and advising a high net worth client on a division of the matrimonial assets following a short marriage. The case settled out of court and we were able to successfully negotiate a settlement whereby the majority of the assets (including high value properties held by a business in which the client had a shareholding) were retained by our client.
  • Acting for and advising high net worth overseas clients on the successful negotiation of a matrimonial settlement, including property abroad and in the UK and business interests.
  • Acting for and advising a client concerning a dispute involving children whereby the unmarried ex-partner made a claim for capital, top up of child maintenance and payment of school fees under Schedule 1 Children Act 1989.
  • Acting for and advising clients in respect of Children Act applications, applications for non-molestation and occupation orders, and applications to vary old maintenance orders.

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Andrew Smith is SFE accredited*

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