The law in respect of cohabitees is complex and many people often find they have no legal rights or protection under the law upon separation – see our blog article on the common law marriage myth.
Cohabitation Agreement – If you are already living together, or thinking of moving in with your partner then you should seek legal advice to ensure that you are legally protected upon separation. The law in respect of cohabitation is complex and relates mainly to property rights.
It is good practice to draw up a Cohabitation Agreement regulating the terms of your cohabitation and importantly the agreement if the relationship were to breakdown. This may seem unromantic however this document may prove as vital evidence upon separation as to your intentions.
Separation Agreement – If you have already separated and are negotiating the terms of the same, you may find it useful to draw up a separation agreement to record the agreement reached so there is a clear record in the event of any future dispute. This document is not legally binding, however when drafted correctly will be persuasive to the Court if produced as evidence.
Schedule 1 applications – if you are living together and have children, upon separation it may be possible to make an application under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989 for financial provision for your children. This is a complex area of law and if you believe this may be relevant to your situation, you should take legal advice on any potential claims you may be able to make on behalf of the children.