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New relationship? Think first!
How many times have you heard recently that your friend met their partner on the internet? Plenty of Fish, Tinder and Match.com are some of the many dating sites regularly used by men and women of all ages who are looking for a new relationship. Very often they do find happiness and internet dating is no longer the remit of the young. The ‘silver surfer’ is a well known phenomenon and many people of all ages are entering new relationships having met their new partner online.
With all the emotional excitement involved in a new relationship, it is easy to forget that taking a step to live with someone new can have profound legal consequences. Both parties may own a property free of mortgage and may have children now grown up. They will also have an income from their business, job or pension. Cohabitation can be something of a financial and legal minefield and although not exciting, it is very important to seek legal advice before moving in with your new partner, avoiding doing so could spell disaster later on.
A cohabitation agreement whilst unromantic is a necessity in such a situation. Such agreements are gaining in popularity as they enable both parties to set out what happens to:
- The assets they each bring to the relationship
- Joint assets they might buy together in the future
- Who pays the bills including the mortgage if relevant
- What effect any investment in a property for renovations would have on either party’s share of a property
- Any inheritance or gifts received during the relationship.
This practical document is signed by both parties after each has taken separate legal advice. There should be some financial disclosure before signature so that each person goes into the relationship knowing the assets of the other.
Then, should the worst happen and the parties separate later on, they already have an agreement in writing which sets out how those assets are to be divided between them. This assists them in amicably resolving the relationship breakdown without costly solicitor’s fees or the need for expensive legal proceedings. A cohabitation agreement saves time, further legal costs and most importantly reduces stress in an already difficult situation.
These agreements do work. A client recently asked us to draft a cohabitation agreement after her new partner came to live with her following her divorce. She had kept her property and wanted to ensure that it would be secure in the event that her new relationship floundered. Sadly the relationship did not last and when the ex partner suggested that he make a claim against her, he was quickly reminded about the cohabitation agreement which he had signed and he took the matter no further.
At the same time as this agreement, advice is given about the need to make a Will to provide for a new partner on death, whilst at the same time ensuring that the needs of both parties’ children remain protected.
For further information or to arrange an initial consultation in confidence with a member of the family team please contact us on: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0345 671 0276.