Take Legal Route to Avoid Cohabitation Pitfalls

By Coutts, David | The Scotsman, August 13, 2018 | Go to article overview

Take Legal Route to Avoid Cohabitation Pitfalls


Coutts, David, The Scotsman


F or many couples, a key is likely to come before a ring and a Living Together Agreement or Cohabitation Agreement may provide the security needed to start a life together.

Three quarters of millennials now believe cohabitation before marriage (or civil partnership) is a good thing. There are also more unmarried older adults these days, and the trend is growing for cohabiting rather than marriage. Recent research from Scottish Widows suggests older generations are also happier to disclose financial information with their partner at an earlier stage than younger people, with only one in ten millennials saying they are immediately comfortable, compared to a third of over 55s. The research also reveals 1 in 5 Brits are in a financially incompatible relationship, with almost a fifth wishing they had discussed finances earlier in a relationship.

Planning a life together with a partner is a big event and moving in together should be a reason to celebrate. People have many reasons for cohabitating. It can be more convenient than living separately and will work out more costeffective for some, while others may just want to have that closeness and provide stability for children or families from previous partners.

Whatever your reason for living together and whether going on to marry or not, the vast majority of couples will fall under the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006's definition of cohabitants. This sets out cohabitants' claims on separation and where the relationship ends by the death of one of them. Most may not be aware that cohabitants in Scotland can make a claim at the end of a relationship.

Indeed, many couples think that because they are living together, they automatically have the same rights as married couples. This is not the case. Common law marriage no longer exists in Scotland, even if you have lived with your partner for many years. Whilst the 2006 Act enables a claim to be made in the event of separation or death of a co-habiting partner, claims are limited and it may not cover all the needs of an individual, or fully reflect the wishes of a partner lost. …

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