I’M THINKING OF MOVING IN WITH MY PARTNER
HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF?
If you move in with your partner, you may think that you are protected by the law and that you have legal rights as a common law spouse. Sadly, this is not the case and if you split up you may find that you have very little legal protection, no matter how long you live together or even if you have children.
Here are seven steps to protect yourself legally if you are thinking of living with a partner;
1. ENTER INTO A COHABITATION AGREEMENT
By entering into a cohabitation agreement you and your partner can then identify and agree what you want to happen when you live together and if you separate in a formal legal document so there cannot be dispute in the future. This is obviously difficult to do but it is really important. If your partner really loves you then they should understand why you want to put these arrangements into place. Please see our webpage on Cohabitation Agreements.
2. SORT OUT YOUR FINANCES
Make sure you decide on how to set up and control joint accounts and/or credit cards. How you and your partner use these joint accounts, can sometimes determine the ownership of any property. For example, if you do not have a joint account but you pay the rent each month then make note of this. If you are using a joint credit card, only use it for joint ventures; nobody wants an argument about overspending!
Agree on the payments of your expenses. The Court can rule that when a couple split, the profits of any assets and property can be split according to how money was originally invested into the property and how mortgages and bills were paid. This can apply to general expenditure, mortgage/rent and bills relating to the property.
3. SORT OUT OWNERSHIP OF ANY PROPERTY
If you are buying a property together, and if one of you puts down 60% of the price, it is usually fair that they retain a 60 per cent interest in the property. However it is very important to record this on the conveyancing documentation (usually a Declaration of Trust) with the solicitor for certainty. Furthermore, if you buy a property in both your names you need to decide whether you wish to the property to be held by the two of you as either tenants in common or joint tenants. Please see our webpage for the differences between the two.
4. OBTAIN A PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY AGREEMENT.
If you have children it is best to ensure that you know who is responsible for looking after the children if you split up or pass away.
5. MAKE A WILL TOGETHER.
If you are not married and neither of you make a Will then you will die intestate, your property and assets are unlikely to pass to your partner and will end up being distributed elsewhere. This can cause serious hardship and many problems. If you want to be sure of making provision for your partner then you must make a Will it will be clear and certain how your property will be distributed.
So if you are considering setting up home with somebody special but are not married then contact Law for Life today for a free no obligation chat on 0800 3 10 11 12 or click on our website at www.lawforlife.org