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Cohabitation solicitors are legal professionals who specialise in matters related to cohabitation. Cohabitation refers to the situation where unmarried couples live together in a domestic partnership. While cohabitation doesn’t carry the same legal implications as marriage (there is no such thing as ‘common law marriage’), there are legal issues that can arise, especially when the relationship breaks down or one partner passes away.

Common issues in cohabitation disputes can include disagreements over property rights, financial matters, child custody, and other responsibilities that often arise when people live together. Unlike married couples or civil partners, individuals in cohabiting relationships do not have the same legal protections and rights, which can lead to disputes when the relationship breaks down.

It’s essential for individuals in cohabiting relationships to be aware of their legal rights and responsibilities, and they may consider formalising certain aspects of their relationship through legal agreements to help prevent or address disputes in the future.

What can a cohabitation solicitor assist with?

When looking for cohabitation solicitors, it’s important to find professionals with experience in family law and specifically in dealing with cohabitation issues. They can offer tailored advice based on the specific circumstances of the couple involved.

It’s advisable to consult with a family law solicitor early on, especially if you’re considering cohabitation or if you’re facing challenges in your cohabiting relationship. Legal advice can help you understand your rights and responsibilities, potentially avoiding complications in the future.

Some of the key areas cohabitation solicitors can assist with include:

  • Cohabitation agreements

A legal document that sets out the rights and responsibilities of unmarried couples or the legal owners of a property living together. It can be a valuable tool for couples who want to clarify their expectations and protect their assets in the event of separation or death.

Cohabitation agreements outline the financial and practical arrangements between partners. A cohabitation agreement solicitor can draft a comprehensive agreement that addresses issues such as property ownership, financial support, and responsibilities during the relationship and in the event of a breakup.

  • Declaration of trust

If you and your partner jointly own property, a declaration of trust can specify each party’s share and contributions. A solicitor can draft this document to ensure that the property ownership reflects your intentions and contributions accurately.

A solicitor can provide advice on trust law and help you understand the legal implications of declaring a trust. This is crucial in scenarios where property ownership needs to be clarified or protected.

  • Wills

Cohabitation solicitors can assist in drafting wills for unmarried couples to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes in the event of death.

Solicitors can provide advice on minimising inheritance tax liabilities and ensuring that your estate is passed on efficiently to your partner or beneficiaries.

  • Disputes

Solicitors can act as mediators to help resolve disputes between cohabiting couples without the need for court intervention. Dispute resolution through mediation can be a more amicable and cost-effective way to resolve issues.

In cases where disputes cannot be resolved through mediation, a cohabitation solicitor can provide legal representation in court proceedings. This may include matters related to property disputes, financial disagreements, or child custody issues.

Benefits of using a specialist cohabitation solicitor

  • Legal Expertise: Cohabitation solicitors specialise in family law and have expertise in the specific issues that arise in unmarried relationships. Their knowledge can help you navigate complex legal matters associated with cohabitation.
  • Tailored Advice: Solicitors can provide personalised advice based on your unique circumstances. They can assess your situation, consider your intentions, and offer guidance that is specific to your needs and concerns.
  • Documentation and Agreements: Cohabitation solicitors can draft legally sound documents, such as cohabitation agreements and declarations of trust. Having these documents in place can help prevent misunderstandings and disputes by clearly outlining the rights and responsibilities of each party.
  • Dispute Resolution: In the event of a disagreement or dispute, cohabitation solicitors can assist in resolving issues through negotiation, mediation, or, if necessary, legal proceedings. This can help avoid protracted and costly court battles.
  • Protection of Rights: Solicitors can help protect your legal rights in various situations, such as property disputes, financial disagreements, or matters related to children. They can ensure that your interests are represented and upheld according to the law.
  • Estate Planning: Cohabitation solicitors can assist with estate planning, including the drafting of wills. This is essential for ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes in the event of death and can help minimise inheritance tax liabilities.
  • Mediation Services: Many cohabitation solicitors offer mediation services to help couples resolve issues amicably. Mediation can be a more cost-effective and less adversarial alternative to court proceedings.
  • Legal Compliance: Solicitors are well-versed in the legal requirements and regulations associated with cohabitation. They can ensure that any agreements or documents created are legally compliant and enforceable.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing that you have sought legal advice and have legally binding agreements in place can provide peace of mind. This proactive approach can contribute to a more stable and secure cohabitation arrangement.
  • Prevention of Future Issues: By addressing potential legal issues early on with the assistance of a solicitor, you can reduce the likelihood of disputes and complications arising in the future. Clear agreements help prevent misunderstandings and disagreements.

It’s important to choose a cohabitation solicitor with experience in family law and a good understanding of the specific challenges associated with unmarried cohabitation. They can guide you through the legal aspects of your relationship and help you make informed decisions.

Why choose Expert Family Law?

The cohabitation solicitors on our panel can provide you with the best advice on all matters relating to cohabitation, from formal legal documentation outlining your responsibilities and assets to assisting with disputes during a relationship breakdown. 

Additionally, our panel of fixed-fee family solicitors offer a range of other family services, such as divorce and financial settlements following the breakdown of a marriage or civil partnership (ancillary relief). We can also provide advice on domestic violence cases and child maintenance disputes.

We ensure that the experienced family lawyers from law firms on our panel have the skills required to assist with your legal case. We can assure you that your case will be dealt with in a compassionate and understanding manner.

If you are seeking legal advice on anything regarding cohabitation, please get in touch today using the online enquiry form at the top of the page to find out if a solicitor from one of our family law teams could help with your case.

 

 

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