Family Law AssociationThe Law Society of Scotland
Glasgow 0141 375 1222

About Jones Whyte Law

3 minutes reading time (511 words)

Why You Should Have a Cohabitation Agreement in Place


What is cohabitation?

Cohabitation is when a couple live together as if husband and wife or as civil partners. In determining whether or not a couple are or have been cohabiting, the court will always consider the length of time in which a couple lived together andthe nature of the relationship that was shared during that period of time, in addition to all financial arrangements that existed during the course of the relationship. Although the Family Law (Scotland)_2006 Act introduced a set of basic rights for cohabitants, they are still less protected than married or civilly registered couples.

There is no ‘common law marriage’ that exists in Scotland. Therefore, in keeping with the increasing number of couples that remain unmarried or in a civil partnership whilst still living together for a significant period of time, the law now offers some protection to such couples. There safeguards are therefore advantageous to cohabitants should their relationship breakdown.

What is a cohabitation agreement?

A cohabitation agreement can be used by a cohabitant to protect themselves and their assets should their relationship breakdown.. In short, a cohabitation agreement is document that is set out much like contract. It therefore includes the financial aspects of the relationship, the property ownership of the parties, in addition to the division of assets following an agreed separation. Essentially, a cohabitation agreement can ensure that neither party is treated unfairly following separation as the terms have already been discussed by the couple and formally accepted beforehand.

What are the benefits of such an agreement?

  1. Having a cohabitation agreement in place ensures that cohabitants are able to Decide what will happen should their relationship breakdown. Often, there can be difficulties arising from one cohabitant owning a property in their own name whilst the other lives and contributes to the cost and upkeep of that property. Having a coherent agreement in place from the beginning can ensure that following a break-up, no party is left unfairly compromised.
  1. A cohabitation agreement can, in some circumstances,speed up the separation process which is more often than not advantageous for both parties. It helps to avoid the additional stress and confusion that may occur alongside a relationship breakdown.
  1. A cohabitation agreement can also reduce the risk of conflict when living together and does not necessarily have to just cover the breakdown of the relationship. It can include specific details in relation to how much each party may pay towards a mortgage, bills and other finances whilst living together. Therefore, a cohabitation agreement can act as a useful tool in helping to reduce disagreements between parties.
  1. Finally, the use of a cohabitation agreement has the potential to save both parties money in the long term, although there is an initial cost in drafting the cohabitation agreement in the first place.

If you wish to enter into a cohabitation agreement, or wish to seek advice in relation to your rights as a cohabiting couple, contact our specialist family solicitors. We have many years’ experience in dealing with cohabitation issues, and can gladly assist you with your cohabitation agreement.

Jones Whyte Expand Free Drop In Clinic

Take the First Step Now: Get Legal Advice

Invalid Input
Invalid Input
Invalid Input
Where did you hear about us?
Invalid Input

Invalid Input

Invalid Input

Invalid Input