What Happens When A Cohabiting Couple Separates?
The Case For Cohabitation Agreements
This is an area of the law which is sadly lacking.
This is the situation even though many people choose to cohabit rather than marry.
The bottom line is that a cohabitee, on the breakdown of the relationship, has little, if any rights in respect of the other cohabitee unless specific provision is made within the ownership of the assets in question or by way of an agreement.
Our advice to people who are choosing to cohabit is to enter into a Cohabitation Agreement for that reason alone.
The best example that we can give is that of the woman who lives with a man who has a much higher income and all of the assets in his sole name. The woman brings up the four children and relies on the man to provide for her financially.
Later on, after the children are grown up, the relationship breaks down and the woman makes a financial claim against the man.
It will be very difficult for her to succeed with any sort of claim against the man in the circumstances. This is in stark contrast to a case involving a marriage.
In such cases, the wife would be able to apply for a substantive settlement including maintenance, lump sums, property and a share of the Husband’s pension.