2016 statistics show that cohabiting (living together) couple families were the fastest growing family type between 1996 and 2016, more than doubling from 1.5 million families to 3.3 million families. 50% of all children born in the UK are to unmarried couples.
We see more and more of our clients living and buying property together rather than taking the more traditional marriage route. The only problem is that so many of them believe that they have the same rights and legal protection as married couples do. Sadly this isn't the case! There's no such thing as a 'common law marriage'. Contrary to popular belief, you don't get rights to property just by living with someone, no matter how long for. You could live with someone for 25 years and share all the costs, but end up being entitled to nothing on a break-up.
If you are thinking about moving in with your partner, or buying a property together, you really do need to lay down plans to make sure that, should things not go as hoped and the property and contents need to be divided, there’s an understanding of how that split would work. Trust us: its essential. And it won't mean that your relationship is likely to fail. That's like taking out car insurance because you know you're going to crash!
The truth is that prevention really is better than cure: looking after this too often forgotten step will give you protection and save you an enormous amount of time and expense at an already testing and emotional time should you end up going your separate ways.
If Hedges are already helping you with your property purchase or transfer, talk to your solicitor about getting this Agreement in place. Our property team works closely with our family law team to put together the right protection for you.
If you'd like a chat about putting a cohabitation or co-ownership agreement in place please e-mail our Head of Property Vicky Hernandez or call her on 01865 594276.