Living together agreements are not prenuptial agreements and will not be valid if you subsequently decide to marry. They are legal agreements reached between couples who have chosen to live together.
The information that follows is to assist you with deciding how to protect your assets in the event of your relationship breaking down.
The law does not recognise the term “common law wife or husband” which may be used to describe partners who live together and you may not have the same rights as if you were married or entered into a civil partnership. If a marriage ends in divorce, a court can adjust the ownership of all the assets to achieve a fair and reasonable result. However, if you are living together you do not have these rights, you only own something if you paid for it or if you received it as a gift or by inheritance.
Your living together agreement is recognised by the courts and as such may avoid costly legal proceedings when you are feeling emotionally vulnerable because of the breakdown of your relationship.
Your agreement will say that you intend to live together, and that you intend to share the responsibility for the children, about the ownership or the tenancy of the property where you will live and who owns your possessions, if they were bought jointly or by each of you separately. It can regulate how you each meet your day to day living expenses and bills. It may mention how you intend to run your bank accounts and who will pay for housing and car insurance, etc. It can set out what your intentions are if one of you is made redundant or becomes disabled or dies.
A living together agreement may be important to you because you have been married before and wish to protect your assets and belongings in order to be able to pass them onto your children in the event of your death, and therefore you should both make wills.
Before the agreement is drafted you will need to think about whether you will purchase your home, how you will both contribute to the purchase, or alternatively if you will rent your home, how you will pay the bills. If you will each be able to drive each others cars and who will be responsible for insuring and the upkeep of the vehicles. You need to consider how you will distribute your assets and liabilities and your belongings if your relationship breaks down. Your agreement may also contain provision for it to be varied at a later stage and under what circumstances it will be varied.
It is important that both of you seek independent legal advice before your agreement is finalised. At Fraser Brown we can advise you in relation to the content of the agreement and will draft it for you. We will also liaise with your partner’s solicitor.
For further information please contact 0115 9888 777.