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Not married legal rights need to be understood

Not married legal rights need to be understood if you live with someone or plan to according to Cheshire Family law solicitors Stonehewer Moss as life is not lived in a vacuum that leaves each without responsibilities in law, many people in the throws of romance seem to think either the law will take care of them without agreement in place with their other half or the opposite, that they are untouchable if they do not marry; both attitudes may prove expensive mistakes. New statistics by national firm Mills & Reeve have highlighted misunderstanding of rights outside of marriage. Over 3 million live outside marriage together and the research suggests as few is 2.5% of them formalise their legal position by having a cohabitation agreement drawn up. While solicitors may not be sexy when you are choosing your lifestyle, they can pour a dose of reality over your expectations when you break up and life does not seem so exciting anymore when you have been told by your ex they owe you nothing but thanks for the memories.

A cohabitation agreement can be downloaded and done yourself but the case law about upholding agreements often looks for even handedness and having it drafted by a solicitor with the chance of legal advice can be sensible. The agreement can cover anything that is lawful and you expect should be your entitlement if things do not work out for you both. They can be entered at any time during the relationship and frankly a refusal to enter at a sensible point such as buying a property by one or both of you should have all your alarm bells ringing to get out. In all honesty, if your partner does not want to marry you might wonder why you are getting involved. The assets he or she have already they might justifiably not want to risk could be protected to some degree by a pre nup before marriage. Life being messy, law can apply with change in circumstances so all agreements are the subject of scrutiny when sought to be relied upon but the alternative of no formal document leaves you having to prove a case in court at potentially vast expense.

The statistics suggest the most basic way of protecting yourself when buying property with another you are not married to, a tenancy in common defining your respective interests in the event of sale, is entered in under a fifth of purchases. Do 80 % of people buying together make the same contribution or expect to share the sale proceeds equally if they separate? If not, that is what will happen unless a very costly and stressful court case proves something else arose. The tenancy in common is the thing the conveyancing solicitor told you would cost under £200 to draft when you bought the property. An average trust law court case after separation might cost £20,000 with a risk of doubling the cost if you lose. A cohabitation agreement need not cost £1000 and given you may be avoiding the costs of divorce by not marrying, possibly a price worth paying to avoid those uncool  wedding receptions. Not married legal rights need to be understood; ignorance of the law will not save you.

For advice negotiation and representation in conhabitation disputes after you separate or to draft an agreement if you have read this blog please call 01606 872200 e mail or visit


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Stonehewer Moss Solicitors, Citadel House, Solvay Road, Northwich, Cheshire, CW8 4DP

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