Amanda Wilson Family Law

Love in Lockdown

Have you recently moved in with your partner?

If so, you have joined the second largest family type in the UK.

Cohabiting makes sense for many and, according to reports, a particularly attractive prospect for couples during lockdown.  Faced with either not seeing each other for an unknown amount of time, new couples have committed to each other with increased urgency.

A good thing, right?  In most cases, we hope so!

But, while the pandemic has pressed ‘fast forward’ on some relationships, it’s worth taking a step back before you commit to cohabiting. It might not feel as significant as marriage but it IS a commitment and one which is recognised legally in Scotland. If you don’t have a Cohabitation Agreement in place, there could be serious repercussions if the relationship ends.

Without wishing to put a dampener on your newfound living arrangements, preparing a Cohabitation agreement will safeguard your financial future, providing certainty and avoiding costly legal battles.

You maybe decided to pool your resources and buy a property together to save money.  But if one of you is funding the deposit, or paying significantly more, you can protect that by having a Cohabitation agreement prepared, which makes it clear what will happen to that deposit in the event that you separate later on.

Alternatively, you might be living in your partner’s home but contributing to their mortgage each month.  Are you entitled to ask for that back if you split?

There are other things to think about too.  For example, if the relationship breaks down, are you entitled to ask your partner to leave or could your partner throw you out without notice?  If your partner refuses to cooperate, can you force a sale of the property?  What would happen if your partner stops paying their share or you separate after ploughing thousands into the property, or funding the deposit?

By having a Cohabitation agreement in place, you remove this uncertainty. Essentially, it sets out the rights and responsibilities you both have, for example:

  • how you will divide and pay the rent or mortgage and household bills
  • what rights you each have to stay in the home if you separate
  • what rights you will have to any shared belongings (for example, furniture or car) if you separate

A basic Cohabitation agreement could cost as little as £500. View it as another insurance policy, for filing away if you ever need it.  You can even have a variation prepared if your circumstances change, or you choose to marry.

If you think you would benefit from having a Cohabitation agreement prepared, contact Amanda for an initial, no-obligation chat – call 01382 219004 or 07596 322 296, or email