Cohabitation Agreement Lawyers Aberdeen
For expert Cohabitation Agreement advice, please complete our on-line enquiry form or call us on 01224 432762.
Fewer people are getting married than ever before in Scotland. When a couple lives together unmarried, they are described in law as cohabitants. Our friendly family law team can help you with cohabitation agreements and claims.
It is commonly believed that when a couple lives together for a long time, they will establish a “common law marriage”. Many people think that if they live with their partner as if they are married, they will gain the same rights and protections in law as a married person would.
Although there have been many developments in the law governing cohabitation to reflect the changes in society and the growing numbers of people who cohabit, the law does not offer the same rights to couples who cohabit.
For this reason, it is important for unmarried couples to be aware of their rights in law.
Cohabitation is defined in law as a couple who live together as if they are married or in a civil partnership. When a couple lives together for a long time, they will likely be contributing to a mortgage or rent payments, paying bills sharing household costs. They may have children together and shared finances such as joint savings.
When a relationship breaks down, a cohabiting couple does not have the same legal protections and rights that a divorcing couple would have.
For this reason, many cohabiting couples decide to create a cohabitation agreement at the start of or during their cohabitation.
Cohabitation Agreement benefits include:
- Many people find it easier to come to an agreement while things are going well in their relationship.
- Break ups are usually a challenging and painful time when emotions are running very high. Trying to come to an agreement about who will keep the house and how your finances will be sorted can make things even more difficult.
- Many people find it reassuring to know that they have come to an agreement about what will happen if their relationship ends.
- You and your partner can decide what you want to put in the cohabitation agreement. Most cohabitation agreements will include what is to happen to shared finances such as the mortgage, debts and savings as well as what the child care arrangements will be. You and your partner can structure the cohabitation agreement to meet your needs.
Where a cohabiting couple separate and there is no cohabitation agreement then it is important to look at what claims may be available to each party. The Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 introduced certain restricted rights available to cohabiting couples upon separation. As indicated these rights are nowhere near as extensive as those available to married couples but they are designed to protect and correct any major financial injustices arising out of the relationship. For example where one of the cohabiting couple sells their own property and uses the proceeds of sale to reduce the mortgage on the other persons property which they own in their own name. In this situation the person who contributed the funds has no entitlement in property law to a share of the value of the property and their former partner has benefited financially from their contribution to their disadvantage. It may therefore be appropriate, where matters cannot be agreed, for the person who contributed the money to make a claim at court.
It is important to bear in mind that cohabitation claims must be made (raised in court and served on the other person) within 1 year from the date the cohabitation ends. It is therefore important that you take advice at the earliest opportunity to see what claims may be available to you to ensure they are dealt with on time.
What Happens if a Cohabiting Partner Dies?
If someone dies without making a will, their cohabiting partner has a right to make a claim upon their estate. The courts have the power to award the cohabiting partner as much as a spouse would have been entitled to.
However, the courts will take a wide range of factors into consideration, and there is no guarantee that a claim will be successful.
Claims must be made within six months of the date of death.
Family Law Aberdeen are a leading team of family lawyers. We have many years experience in supporting and advising clients in Aberdeen and surrounding areas. We are widely experienced in all areas of cohabitation agreements and claims so contact our friendly team today to find out how we can help you.
Cohabitation Agreements Aberdeen
For advice on issues surrounding rights for cohabitants, including your rights in relation to children and the home where you live, and how we can assist you, please complete our on-line enquiry form or call us on 01224 432762.