Are cohabitation agreements useful for LGBT couples?

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Whether you’re getting ready to live with your partner or you’ve both decided to take the plunge and invest in property together, taking the next step in your relationship comes with a lot of important decisions for you both to make.

Nobody likes to think of the worst, and it will probably be the last thing on your mind – but setting out rules over how you and your partner will divide assets should things not quite work out could mean saving yourself from a lot of hurt.

Are Cohabitation Agreements Really Beneficial For Gay Couples?

A cohabitation agreement (also known as a living together agreement) can help you and your partner to lay down some guidelines on how your assets should be divided if you were to split up.

Even though there’s no prescribed list of what needs to be included in an agreement, here’s what you should think about including:

  • The purpose of the agreement – is this agreement intended to be legally binding or guidelines relating to how you’d prefer to split your property/assets? Bear in mind that if your relationship comes to an end and you and your partner can’t come to an agreement about splitting your property/assets, you might need to use the document in a legal setting. It’s therefore essential that you take independent legal advice in order for any agreement to be legally binding.
  • Arrangements regarding your property if you split up – if you both have an equal interest in any property you have bought together, will you both get 50:50? What happens if one of you owns a smaller share of the property than the other – can one of you buy the other one out? If one of you already owns the property you intend to live in, an agreement can set out whether the non-owner is to have any interest in the property. Importantly, it can also express a clear intention that the non-owner accepts they have no interest in the property. This can prevent expensive litigation further down the line.
  • Arrangements regarding property/assets acquired during your relationship – you can also specify how property that you acquire during the course of your relationship will be divided.
  • Inheritance – should either you or your partner pass away, who would the remainder of the property/assets go to? It’s also essential to make a will to give effect to what you agree.
  • How do you plan to resolve disagreements – if you’re unable to come to a mutual agreement, how will you proceed?

Ending a relationship is stressful enough without the added hassle of trying to figure out who should get what. Couples may have very different ideas about how their assets should be split, which is why it’s beneficial to have your agreement drafted by a legal expert.

A clear, concise, and unambiguous agreement will ensure that neither of you lose out if you choose to go your separate ways – your solicitor might even point out a few things that would be sensible to include in the agreement.

If you and your partner are thinking about making an agreement or you’re in need of some legal support, get in touch with our friendly Family Law team on 0800 260 5005 or click here to request a call-back.

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