What to consider when cohabiting

Year Published: 2022

What do couples need to think about when cohabiting?

Cohabiting couple families continue to grow faster than married or lone parent families overall in the UK. The number of families that include a couple in a legally registered partnership has increased by 3.7% in the past decade, to 12.7 million; by comparison, the number of cohabiting couple families saw an increase of 22.9% over the same period, to 3.6 million.*

If you are currently cohabiting, you are not protected by matrimonial laws and you both need to carefully consider protecting any assets you bring into the relationship.


Partner Moving into Your Home

If your partner is moving into your home and pays directly towards your mortgage or invests money into your property, such as funding refurbishments which increase the value of the property, this could give rise to a beneficial interest. You need to be very clear from the outset what interest it is, if any, that you intend your partner to acquire.


Unequal contributions

If you are buying a property together and your contributions to the purchase price of the property are unequal, you should seek legal advice prior to completion.

When commencing a cohabiting relationship, it is highly recommended that you enter into a ‘cohabitation agreement’ that sets out the intended contributions to assets and outgoings, so that you both have certainty and can avoid complications in the future.

Cohabitation Agreements

A cohabitation agreement is an agreement signed by both parties and can cover what is to happen upon separation.

The cohabitation agreement can cover a number of things such as (but not limited to):

  • How equity is to be divided
  • How long after separation the property is to be put on the market for sale
  • How joint bank accounts are to be dealt with
  • How other assets are to be divided such as cars or certain pieces of furniture


The cohabitation agreement will be bespoke to your particular relationship and acts as evidence of your discussions and intentions upon purchase. This will help to prevent a dispute upon separation.

If you are considering living with your partner or you are in the process of separating from your partner and there is a dispute regarding property, it is advisable to seek the advice of a solicitor. Please contact Cheryl Haywood on  01260 282314 or [email protected]


*Families and households in the UK – Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)

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