Cohabiting couples have very few claims against each other if the relationship breaks down.

The terms common-law wife and husband have no legal recognition.

However, there are ways in which you can try to safeguard your position and financial assets. At minimum, if you and your partner are purchasing a property together, you should consider how you should own the property by entering into a Deed of Trust. It may well be that you contribute unequal amounts to the purchase therefore you do not necessarily want to own the property in equal shares.

It is more advisable to enter into a cohabitation agreement. This can set out not only how you will own the property, but what your contributions to household bills will be, and what should happen if the relationship breaks down. There is no limit to what can be included in a cohabitation agreement!

A cohabitation agreement is not watertight but it is very difficult to say that it should not be implemented if both parties had received legal advice at the time. It is far more complicated to deal with any dispute about property when no cohabitation agreement exists.

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