When you are planning to live together and are not married, it may be wise to have a living together agreement also known as a Cohabitation Agreement.
A Cohabitation Agreement will set out agreements you reach in relation to property that you share together to avoid a dispute about how the property will be divided if you separate. Your legal position will be different if you live together and are not married and you will not have the same legal rights as married couples.
If you decide to contribute differently to the monthly bills associated with the property you share then this could have an impact on how that property is treated if you separate. As an example, if you decide that one of you will pay the mortgage each month and the other will pay the household bills, even if this amounts to the same financial contribution, this could in some circumstances mean that the person paying the mortgage has a greater financial interest. Equally if you decide that one of you will make a greater contribution because perhaps their income is greater then again this could mean that your respective interest in the property is capable of being in dispute.
If you reach agreements either when planning to live together or whilst living together about your respective interests in the property you share then you may want to formalise those agreements to avoid difficulties should you separate in the future.
If you plan to live in a property which will be owned in the name of one of you and not jointly and you plan to contribute to that property and have a financial interest either equally or unequally then it would be very important indeed to take independent legal advice about how to protect your financial interest if you are not named as an owner of the property with your partner. If you do not then it may prove very difficult to establish your financial interest in the event of separation.
If you are planning to live together or are living together and would like to discuss any of the issues above, please do call us to arrange a no cost initial consultation with one of our specialist family solicitors.