Moving in with your partner or buying a house together, when you are not yet married needs a little extra thought before proceeding. From a legal point of view, there are a few things to consider:

First up is the Cohabitation Agreement – a legal document between unmarried couples who are living together. It sets out arrangements for finances, property and children while you’re living together and if you split up, become ill or die.

You can make an agreement at any time. It’s good to do it before you move in together. But you may want to consider one if you decide to have children or get a mortgage. Without one you do not have many rights.

A member of our family team can prepare a cohabitation agreement and make sure it is legally binding.

Cohabitation agreements can also be made between people who are not romantically involved – for example, friends or siblings.

Other factors to consider:

If the house is not in your name, you are at risk if your partner asks you to leave. There are two types of joint ownership to consider: Tenants in Common and Joint Ownership.

Protecting your share
It is advisable to sign a Declaration of Trust, which clearly outlines what you each own and how the value of the property would be divided should you ever separate in the future.

Without signing a Declaration of Trust, both parties could risk a complicated legal battle. If you don’t detail your individual shares in the property and you then later disagree on who should receive what, it may result in a costly court case.

Making a Will
It is particularly important for a cohabiting couple to make Wills, whatever the choice of joint ownership. The surviving partner will not automatically be entitled to the remaining share of the property as it becomes part of the deceased’s estate.

For further details, contact our family team on 01792 468684 or email


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