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Why should unmarried couples make a cohabitation agreement?

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Making a cohabitation agreement can help unmarried couples to specify guidelines for their relationship, especially in terms of property rights and financial security in the event of a break up.

All personal situations are different and it follows that no two agreements will be the same. Some things to consider including in an agreement are:

  • The purpose of the agreement – is it to be legally binding or just a declaration of expectations
  • Arrangements to be made for children in the event of a split -maintenance and visitation rights
  • Property
  • Inheritance and wills
  • The length of time that the agreement will cover.

It is also important to consider financial arrangements for the partnership and ascertain whether each partner would be willing to support the other financially in the event of illness or loss of employment.

Head of our Family Team, Julie-Ann Harris says “If a partnership breaks down and there are disputes, the cohabitation agreement can be used in a legal setting. It is a contract and therefore important that it meets legal criteria. Our Family Law team will be happy to explain this for you. Courts are now willing to take such agreements into account, so it is essential to have a legal deed which is properly drawn up.”

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