Personal Law
August 17, 2021

Why do you need a Cohabitation Agreement?

If you live with your partner, or are considering moving in together, you may have thought about a cohabitation agreement. But do you actually need one? There is, of course, no legal requirement to have a cohabitation agreement to live with a partner, but it can be a useful tool to protect your finances and establish practical arrangements. Here, we look at why you might want to draw up a cohabitation agreement and how it could give you peace of mind.

What is a cohabitation agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is basically a contract setting out what you and your partner would like to happen should the relationship come to an end. When considering a cohabitation agreement, you can discuss the financial and practical aspects of your relationship and set them out clearly, so that both parties understand ‘the deal’ being made.

Do cohabitants have the same rights as married couples?

Quite simply, no. One of the key incentives to enter into a cohabitation agreement is to create certainty. Many couples who have lived together before separating end up in bitter disputes because there was no agreement about what should happen to a home, personal items of property, money, businesses, children and even pets beforehand.

Why should we enter into a cohabitation agreement?

Firstly, a cohabitation agreement can protect your financial interests and give you peace of mind that should your relationship come to an end, you will have some degree of certainty over what you will walk away with. Your agreement may make provision for a property you own, rented property, household bills and debts, and how you wish to divide any other jointly owned property.

If you do not have a cohabitation agreement in place, you will be left to organise the division of assets informally, at a time that may already be challenging and sensitive. Generally, it works best to manage these aspects of your relationship while you are both on good terms and looking forward to a life together.

While many feel that making a cohabitation agreement is pessimistic, it is more like an insurance policy. Having such an agreement in place can allow you to move forward in your lives together with confidence and security.

Should I get a cohabitation agreement if we are renting?

Yes, it is still a good idea to enter into a cohabitation agreement even if you are renting. In the agreement, you will set out who is responsible for the cost of rent, bills and expenses. You may also own other property together, such as a car or furniture. You may have children to consider, either from a previous relationship or children that you have together. While you cannot make provision for care arrangements for children in a cohabitation agreement in a way that would be legally binding, it can be useful to set out your thoughts on this and to manage money matters.

Need to talk to us?

Our friendly family team are here to discuss cohabitation agreements or assist with any other family legal matter which you may be facing. Please get in touch on 01892 526344 or email

For further information on all our Family Law services, please click here.

Fixed Fee Appointments - £100 + VAT

We offer an initial one hour fixed fee appointment with one of our friendly family solicitors for £100 + VAT. This gives you the opportunity to talk your matter through with a solicitor, get their advice and then consider your options before deciding how to progress your legal matter. Please get in touch if you feel this type of appointment would be beneficial.

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.

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