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Cohabiting couples - is the LGBT community at higher risk?

View profile for Francesca Cozens
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Cohabiting couples are the fastest growing family model in the UK. Cohabitation remains the most popular family model for same sex couples in the UK. If you have or are thinking of moving in with your partner what do you need to know?

Are we common law spouses?
 
There are many myths surrounding cohabitation and the rights which couples acquire. It remains a popular myth that after you have cohabited for a period of time that you become ‘common law spouses’ and acquire the same rights as married couples; this is simply untrue.
 
How can you protect yourself from the risks associated with cohabitation?
 
You could choose to enter a same sex marriage or civil partnership to acquire legal rights and protections but these options are not for everyone, particularly if the relationship is new. If this is an option then you may wish to speak to us about pre-nuptial and pre-civil partnership agreements to protect your assets.
 
Instead, you may choose to enter into a Cohabitation Agreement. This agreement sets out a framework or rules for how assets would be divided in the event of the relationship not working out. No-one likes to think about a relationship failing, but the idea of the agreement is to assist with communication at the outset to reduce acrimony in the future. The agreement could look to clarify who owns the property and in what proportions, along with considering contents and any savings. 
 
There is no prescribed list of what should be in a Cohabitation Agreement. It can be bespoke to your circumstances allowing you to plan for what may happen to assets acquired during your relationship - should your partner inherit in the event of your death? It is also essential to make a will to give effect to what you agree.
 
The agreement provides certainty and allows you and your partner to determine what is fair in your circumstances rather than relying on property law.
 
To find out more about Cohabitation Agreements do not hesitate to call Francesca Cozens on 01245 453843 for a free no obligation chat or alternatively you can email me at francesca.cozens@birkettlong.co.uk.

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