Top ten tips for cohabiting couples

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09 February 2017

Moving in together is a big step and can change a relationship in unpredictable ways. Here are some tips to keep in mind if you decide to make this change.

1. If you are buying a property, work out how the deposit is being paid and what is to happen if you split up. Will each of you get back what you put in?

2. Who’s going to be paying the mortgage? If it is not being shared equally it might be necessary to make specific arrangements about that.

3. Discuss the general finances. Who will pay for what bills and be sure you are both content with those arrangements.

4. Consider making a co-habitation agreement to regulate some of these financial matters. Think about what you would want to happen if you split up. If you have bought the property, you might want to sell or allow one of you to buy out the other. 

5. Think about your joint assets. This could be furniture, appliances, even music collections. In the unfortunate event of a split, you’ll need to consider who gets what. A co-habitation agreement can assist with this process.

6. Discuss the household chores and allocate them fairly. Take account of what else you do whether that is full or part-time work, a dependant who relies on that person, children who require care or even just time for a hobby.

7. Children. If one of you has to give up work or go part time for child care commitments, discuss that and how that financial burden and career sacrifice can be fairly shared between you. If not shared, think about what might be fair in the circumstances.

8. Consider making a Will. Cohabitees can claim on the estate of their deceased partner within six months of the date of death but only if there is no Will. If you both make a Will you can make the arrangements you want for your partner, if appropriate and for others. Otherwise there could be a court action between your partner and your family.

9. Think about your digital legacy, this is your online presence such as online banking accounts, photos and music. What do you want to happen to this on your death, you may want to consider your wider family in this regard and reference to this can be made in your Will. Click here for further information about your digital legacy.

10. Moving in together is a big change, give yourself some time to get used to your new circumstances.

Further information

For further information on matters covered in this article, please contact Janice Jones or a member of our Family Law team.