a couple moving into their new home

What Are The Legal Rights Of Cohabitants?

Unlike common belief, cohabitation does not provide legal protection after a break-up, no matter what the duration of the relationship. In recent years, an increasing number of couples in the UK choose this form of partnership. However, most of these people are unaware of their legal rights — or lack thereof — within this specific relationship framework.

Couples who are cohabitants do not have the same legal rights as married couples or people in a civil partnership. No matter how many children they have, or how many years they are living together, they cannot obtain the rights legal rights automatically. Solicitors in Portsmouth, such as Andrew and Andrew Solicitors Limited, can offer advice on the legal requirements of cohabitation, especially when a property is involved.

Cohabitation and Property Protection

Property protection in a relationship based on cohabitation is a tricky situation. However, if they get the advice from solicitors in Portsmouth from the outset, many problems can be prevented. Unless there is a legally binding document where joint share, use and ownership of the property is designated, then the property is presumed to be divided into equal shares between partners.

However, this can be tricky to prove in court in the event of a separation, especially if the property is owned by one partner and the other one does not contribute at all towards the mortgage or other utilities. Similarly, if a cohabitant has spent more money on buying a property than their partner, they are advised to protect their deposit and enter into a declaration of trust in order to ensure that they receive their deposit back in the event of a separation.

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Without a legally binding document, such as a cohabitation agreement, a shared property between cohabitants can lead to a troubled situation.

The Law Can Be Improved

With cohabitation becoming the norm rather than the exception in the UK, it is essential that laws are reformed to protect both parties in case a relationship breaks down. In legal terms, cohabitation has no standing and for this reason, consulting experienced solicitors in Portsmouth can save couples from a lot of money and trouble in the long run.