How to draw up a cohabitation agreement

When you move in together the last thing you want to think about is drawing up a legal document such as a cohabitation agreement

But if you split up, you won’t have the same rights as a married couple and you could end up with nothing. So it’s even more important that you make one. 

It's an essential financial agreement for all cohabiting couples. Find out more on how unmarried couples can draw up a cohabitation agreement:

1. Obligations

Discuss with your partner why you want one. Most cohabiting couples draw up an agreement to record their financial obligations towards each other.

2. Assets

List your assets, liabilities and income with your partner so that you both have an accurate picture of each other’s finances before your draw up your cohabitation agreement.

3. Liabilities

Show each other your assets, liabilities and income details and be honest about how you want to arrange your domestic finances. This will form the basis of your cohabitation agreement.

4. Outgoings

Decide with your partner who will pay the outgoings (electricity and water bills, etc.). How will home repairs and improvements be funded? You can put this in your cohabitation agreement.

5. Property

If you are going to buy property together, you need to decide how you are going to own it. Speak to your conveyancing solicitor for advice. 

If you own property, you need to decide in what circumstances the home will be sold? If the home was bought in your partner’s sole name and the proceeds of sale are to be divided between you, you should first seek legal advice to ensure that your interest is put on the title deeds; otherwise your partner could sell the home without your knowledge.

6. Finances

Decide whether you will have a joint account and how it will be operated. Will you have joint credit cards?

7. Get advice

It's important for both parties to have received independent legal advice before they enter into a cohabitation agreement. Any agreement is then less likely to be rejected by the court.

8. Make a Will

You should both make a Will. Remember if you don't make a Will, then your cohabiting partner will get nothing when you die!

9. Use a template

Draw up an agreement using Lawpack's cohabitation agreement template.

10. Sign the agreement

Sign the cohabitation agreement and insert your full names in the presence of an independent witness, who should also sign and include their full name and address.

11. Revise your agreement

If anything significant happens in your relationship such as the birth of a child; one of you becomes seriously ill; one of you becomes disabled; one of you is made redundant; your financial circumstances change or one of you receives a large inheritance, then you need to revise your cohabitation agreement.

Other information

External information

Published on: July 12, 2011

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