Couples will often choose to buy a home and move in together. Some couples choose to contribute 50% of all costs. The cost of the property, conveyancing solicitors, surveyor, decoration and any home improvements, utility bills, insurance, it’s all split 50/50. Some couples negotiate. One will take 2/3 of the property ownership, the other might pay any conveyancing fees. Both will negotiate again for any home improvements, insurance and mortgage. But which couples choose to draft a co-habitation agreement? The shrewd ones do.
It’s hard to prepare for a rainy day, but if you’re wise, you do it. You save up and don’t dip into that “rainy day” account. But when couples move in, they’re too emotionally wrapped up in each other to plan ahead. You need to plan for a time when the relationship ends. This can’t be compared to planning for a time when you need a large quantity of money. Planning for a relationship to fail almost equals to not believing in the relationship in the first place. Which is why it’s hard to plan for that relationship “rainy day”.
Think about it. If you plan for a time when the relationship will end, are you planning to fail? No. You’re just making a smart move. The relationship may end, but it needn’t have to be a bitter end because of money matters. Many friendships are saved, when a relationship ends because of a smart move right from the start. We’re not relationship specialists but we are lawyers who deal with couples disagreeing over property and any assets.
So what’s the plan then? You’re a happy couple, great communication, planning ahead is not a problem. Talking about a time if or when the relationship ends, isn’t a problem either. So, what’s the plan? The heading of your plan should be “Co-Habitation Agreement”. Remember, it’s not a sting, it’s smart move for both in the partnership. And remember, it’s a partnership – emotional, mental, physical and financial. Just as in a business you get a shareholders agreement, in a relationship involving assets, you have a co-habitation agreement.
A cohabitation agreement is basically an agreement between a couple that buys property to live in together. Did you know that, in certain circumstances there’s no such thing as common law marriage? If you buy property and then enter a relationship, you’re still the proprietor when the relationship ends. But if you buy property with someone else, you both need to know, in legal terms, who owns how much. An understanding and handshake might seem to look like a good idea, but a lawyer knows better. Lawyers are very experienced at resolving disputes between couples who thought that a handshake sufficed. Any lawyer will tell you that a co-habitation agreement is the smart thing to do.
If you are planning to buy or have bought property with your partner, please get in touch with us. We’ll help you understand and draft a co-habitation agreement. SG
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