Many couples choose to live together rather than marry or enter into a civil partnership. Such couples can ensure that their financial contributions are recognised at the very commencement of their cohabiting relationship (and at its conclusion) by entering into a cohabitation agreement setting out the way in which assets will be dealt with should the relationship break down –such as a jointly owned property or making provision for one party to be reimbursed for any financial contribution made at the outset of the relationship.
The law on cohabitation changed in 2006, giving cohabiting parties certain limited claims for financial provision on separation or death. Claims can be made on separation for a lump sum where one partner has been economically disadvantaged or the other economically advantaged by the contributions from the other party, or to deal with the economic burden of caring for a child of the parties’ relationship.
Claims can also be made following the death of a former partner against the deceased’s partner’s estate where the partner dies without leaving a will.
Restrictive time limits apply to any such claims and they must be made through court action (where agreement is not possible) before these strict time limits expire, otherwise the right to claim will be lost.
It is essential for anyone in this position to get early and expert advice. We have extensive experience in this complex and evolving area of the law.