The Legal Benefits of a Cohabitation Agreement

In recent years, the dynamics of relationships and family structures have evolved significantly. More couples are choosing to cohabit. Even if you are planning to get married 70% of couples cohabit for a period before they get married.

There is often a misconception of ‘common law marriage’, but this does not exist. This leaves couples dealing with complicated trust law on separation and outcomes they did not intend. 

While cohabiting offers many advantages, it can also present unique legal challenges, especially in the event of a breakup or separation. To protect your rights and assets, it’s essential to consider a cohabitation agreement. In this blog, we will explore the benefits of such an agreement.

Clarity and Certainty:

One of the primary advantages of a cohabitation agreement is that it provides clarity and certainty to both parties. This legal document outlines the rights and responsibilities of each partner during the relationship and in case of a breakup. This can prevent misunderstandings and disputes later on.

Property and Asset Protection:

A well-drafted cohabitation agreement can safeguard your property and assets. It allows you to specify the ownership of property, investments, and other assets, ensuring they are divided as per your wishes in the event of a separation.

Financial Provisions:

Cohabitation agreements can include financial provisions, such as details on how household expenses are divided, and how savings and debts are managed. This clarity can be particularly valuable, as it reduces the likelihood of financial disagreements down the line.

Child Arrangements and Support:

For couples with children, a cohabitation agreement can address child living/contact and support arrangements. This can be vital in ensuring the welfare and well-being of the children is protected if the relationship ends.

Avoiding Costly Legal Disputes:

Without a cohabitation agreement, separating couples may need to rely on complex legal proceedings to resolve disputes. These legal battles can be emotionally taxing and financially draining. A cohabitation agreement can help you avoid such expensive litigation.

Protecting Inheritance Rights:

Inheritance rights can be a significant concern for cohabitating couples. A well-crafted cohabitation agreement can ensure that your assets and inheritance plans are protected, ensuring your loved ones are provided for as you intend.

Privacy and Confidentiality:

Cohabitation agreements are private documents and not part of the public record. This means your personal and financial arrangements remain confidential, unlike court proceedings which can be a public record.


Cohabitation agreements are highly flexible and can be tailored to suit the specific needs and desires of the couple. This means you can create an agreement that aligns with your unique circumstances and preferences.


Ruth Harris, Partner and Head of the Family Team says: “A cohabitation agreement is a valuable tool for couples choosing to live together without marriage. It offers clarity, protection, and peace of mind, ensuring that both parties’ interests are safeguarded. To make the most of these benefits, it’s crucial to consult with legal professionals who specialise in family law and can help draft a comprehensive and legally sound cohabitation agreement. By doing so, you can protect your rights, assets, and relationships, even in the face of unforeseen challenges”.

If you wish to discuss preparing a cohabitation agreement, then get in touch with one or our experience family lawyers today by contacting us by email or phone on 01743 248148. We have offices across Shropshire and Mid Wales including Shrewsbury, Telford, Church Stretton, Ludlow, Knighton and by appointment at Welshpool, Bishops Castle and Clun.