New year, new start? Top tips if you are planning on living together

A lot of people mistakenly believe that simply living together can give you the same rights as being married. They believe that ‘common law marriage’ is a recognised legal status. But that isn’t right. This can sometimes lead to heartbreak and financial hardship if a relationship comes to an end.

So if you are thinking of living together here are some of the top tips and things you need to think about to help you through the process.

Tip#1 – If you are buying a house together how will that work?

  • Is one of you paying a bigger share of the deposit and do you want that back?
  • Do you own the house 50/50?
  • If you die first do you want your share to automatically go to your partner or do you want to leave it to your children/family

Tip#2 – If you are going to rent then how will that work?

  • Is the tenancy going to be in joint names or just in the name of one of you?
  • Can you afford to pay the rent if ones of you leaves?

Tip#3 – Be clear as to who is going to pay for what

  • How are the bills going to be split- 50/50? What happens if one of you earns more money?
  • What about more expensive items – furniture or holidays? Who will pay for them?
  • Do you need a joint budget account and then keep the rest of your money separate?

Tip#4 – How formal do you want to make things?

  • Do you need a Declaration of Trust if you are going to own your own home and don’t want equal shares?
  • Do you want a Cohabitation or Living Together Agreement to set out  your legal rights whilst you live together and to cover what happens if you split up?

Tip#5 – Have you got a back up or exit plan just in case things don’t work out?

  • Have that difficult conversation about what happens if it all goes wrong before it actually does so you are not surprised
  • Will one of you get to stay in your home and can you afford to do so?
  • How are you going to sort who gets what of the furniture and household electricals and gadgets?
  • What about any pets – who will they live with?

Getting legal advice before you move in can help you avoid unnecessary pitfalls and give you a better sense of security.

If you want to find out more about the legal aspects of living together then the Family Team at Chafes Hague Lambert offer free initial advice. To make an appointment call the office that is most suitable to you.

You can also fine out more information from our leaflets and fact sheets that you can download here:

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