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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 11022
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I’m hoping you can assist with the following situation. My

Customer Question

Good morning, my name is*****’m hoping you can assist with the following situation.
My girlfriend and her two children will be moving into my property with at some point this year.
I own the mortgaged property and only my name appears on the deeds etc.
Nothing lasts forever, so I need to protect my property from any future claim if my girlfriend and I were no longer in a relationship irrespective of the time spent together below the relationship came to an end.
I have spoken to a solicitor who has recommended (see below) to protect my property from any such future claim.
My goal here is to ensure the recommendation is consistent and cannot be challenged or over looked by a symptomatic judge/ court in the UK.Recommendation
As the law stands today, unmarried cohabitees’ rights are governed by principles of property and trust law if they separate.
In very broad terms if you keep the property in your name and your girlfriend does not make any financial contribution to the property then she would not have no claim against it were you to separate. However, cases are rarely that straightforward, e.g. if your mortgage is a repayment one and she tried to argue that by contributing to the household she helped you pay down the mortgage then she could try to use that as part of a claim.
I would therefore recommend having a cohabitation agreement which would be signed as a deed. Typically the agreement would record that:
• Your partner would not make any financial claim against you and/or the property were you to separate.
• That you would give her a reasonable amount of time in which to move out if the rate relationship broke down, e.g. 2 – 3 months.
• It may deal with contributions to household outgoings.
You would not have any financial obligation to your girlfriend’s children.
Potentially, she could apply to the court under legislation primarily aimed at protecting the victims of domestic violence, for the right to remain in the property for a period of 6 months if you separated and that right could be extended by a further 6 months, but no longer. Those rights cannot be excluded.
It may be that the law will change in the future to give unmarried partners greater rights on separation. There is a lot of call for this and another reason to have the agreement would be to cover the eventuality of the law changing.Thanks and regards
Andrew
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 2 months ago.

Good morning. I will try to assist with your question but need more info -

are you asking if she needs to sign something?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
if that's what's needed, as well a document stating what she is not entitled. It basically needs to be water tight that she cannot take half of my assets.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 2 months ago.

Thank you.

I agree with everything that you have been told. In fact, I could not agree more.

It’s worthwhile mentioning however that if you get married or have children, the agreement is out of the window.

There is one other thing which hasn’t been covered and that is that in my opinion it is absolutely essential that your partner takes independent legal advice on the effect of the agreement otherwise at some stage in the future it would be possible for it to be alleged that she didn’t know what she was doing or that she was forced into doing it.

What exactly is it that you want to know about this?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thank you for clarifying the recommendation that was given to me.
If I recall, making sure she gets independent advice was also suggested.
What I need to know exactly is the following....
She has agreed to pay me £800 per month (rent as she calls it) which is half of her current out goings she is currently paying for her rented apartment. She claims this will allow her to save the rest in her own personal account.
Its this payment to me of £800 I’m fearful of which she could use as a way to make a claim.
As long as the cohabitation agreement takes into account any monies paid to me that cannot be in any way used, then I’ll rest easy.Please let me know what your fees are to draw up a cohabitation agreement .Thank you.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 2 months ago.

We are not allowed to take instructions here but if you Google

cohabitation agreement template

you will get some examples that you can manipulate.

Here is one I found https://www.rocketlawyer.co.uk/documents-and-forms/cohabitation-agreement.rl