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Is a cohabitation agreement legally binding?

The number of people living together, or cohabiting, has soared during recent lockdowns with many deciding to move in together sooner than planned.

In these circumstances, a cohabitation agreement is a prudent step. It sets out arrangements for property and assets while you live together as well as what should happen if you split up.

How do I make sure my cohabitation agreement does what I want it to?

A cohabitation agreement is a legally binding contract, provided it is drafted and executed properly and signed as a deed. You should therefore take legal advice before entering into one.

When should I draw up a cohabitation agreement?

Ideally, before you move in together but you can do it at any time, even after many years of cohabiting.

Do I ever need to amend my cohabitation agreement?

Yes, the agreement should be reviewed periodically especially when there has been a significant change in circumstances, like the birth of a child.

Do I still need a cohab agreement if we’re going to get married later?

Definitely – but if possible, you should consider this whilst drafting the agreement.

You can:

  • State explicitly that the terms of the cohabitation agreement remain the same if and when you marry;
  • State that the cohabitation agreement expires when you marry;
  • Look at the terms of the cohabitation agreement and a prenuptial agreement at the same time.
  • Be aware that cohabitation agreements expire automatically if you marry.
  • If you are already engaged, you can set up a pre-nup agreement instead of a cohabitation agreement.  You can speak to our Family team for further details.

Get in touch

For more information about cohabitation agreements, please contact Wards Solicitors’ specialist and highly experienced cohabitation team.

Click here to read our Legal Guide, ‘Cohabitation Agreements or No nups’.

Solicitor Associates Lucia Mills and Georgia Wookey can talk you through what to do if you want to make a cohabitation agreement or enter into a declaration of trust – particularly useful if you are buying a property with someone you’re not in a relationship with – and the vital importance of making a Will if you’re cohabiting.

Email Lucia Mills: Lucia.Mills@wards.uk.com

Phone: 0117 9292811

Email Georgia: Georgia.Wookey@wards.uk.com

Phone: 01454 204899

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