The law on unmarried couples is quite different to the law on married couples. There is no such status as a common law spouse. The basic rule is that you are treated in a similar way as if two flatmates decided they were going to move out – so that starting point is basically that you take out of the situation what you brought into it.
It is advisable for couples who live together without marrying or registering a Civil Partnership to seriously consider the making of a properly drawn up agreement, particularly if you have children.
Cohabitation Agreements are being increasingly taken into account by the Court at the end of a relationship or death of a partner, as an indication of the couple’s intentions regarding their assets.
Declaration of Trust
When buying a property you also need to consider a Declaration of Trust (also called a Trust Deed). This is a statement, which indicates whether the property is to be held in equal or unequal shares. The declaration makes it clear how much property is owned by whom and states the contributions made by each person at the time of purchase. It also records what is to happen to the sale proceeds when the property is sold. As a further option the document can contain a right of first refusal in the event of one party wishing to dispose of their share in the property.
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