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Happy Valentine’s Day?

“It used to be so natural, to talk about forever. But used-to-bes don’t count anymore. They just lay on the floor ’til we sweep them away”.  

Diamond, Bergman, and Bergman (1978)

Given the day that is in it, it may seem awkward to consider the ending of a relationship, and some perceive cohabitation agreements as just that, doubting the relationship’s future. However, cohabitation agreements are a sensible method of resolving arrangements between couples both during the relationship and in the possibility of the relationship ending.

Cohabitation agreements

A cohabitation agreement between two parties who have decided not to marry but wish to live together is a helpful way to establish each party’s rights and responsibilities. Parties may want to determine their rights concerning the property in which they live, personal items such as a shared vehicle, and contributions to the relationship’s finances. The couple may also consider how those rights alter if their relationship breaks down.

Financial arrangements

The cohabitation agreement, therefore, provides flexibility and freedom to arrange financial affairs as the couple desires. The agreement is beneficial to avoid future litigation, where disagreements arise regarding the property or assets in question. Such litigation is often costly and lengthy. The agreement is also helpful for those who have previously married, suffered the financial impact of divorce and seek to protect their status in a subsequent relationship.


Alternatively, cohabitation agreements are a way to address issues where cohabitated couples do not benefit from the same rights as married couples. Those rights may include spousal maintenance, which cohabitated couples are not entitled to. Couples may view this as unfair where, for example, one party has taken on the role of primary carer for the child(ren). A cohabitation agreement could address the maintenance of relationship breakdown.

Next steps

A cohabitation agreement can be entered into at any point in the relationship. You don’t have to wait until it becomes a used-to-be.

For more information about this article or any other aspect of family law, divorce and separation agreements and what we do, contact your Napthens Solicitors in Preston, Southport, Blackburn and across the North West today.


Valentine day red roses dead on white background