Sunday, February 15, 2009

From England, The Living Together Agreement

Yes, this comes from what appears to be a news release from English Family Law Specialists Woolley & Co..

But Back The Living Together Agreement has points that apply to Indiana and they are well made points.

February 5, 2009 -- Andrew Woolley, Senior Partner at Woolley & Co, whose pioneering UK-wide family law firm conducts much of its work online and over the phone, said, “Most people think that if you live with your partner for a couple of years you get the same rights as married couples, but this simply isn’t true. Cohabiting couples have very few automatic rights and contrary to popular opinion, there is no such thing as s common law husband or wife. This is where a Living Together Agreement comes in.”"

The only difference between Indiana and the UK is that Hoosier have no automatic rights based on cohabitation.

This paragraph applies to prenuptial agreements as well as cohabitation agreements:
Although no one enters into a relationship believing it will break down, a Living Together Agreement can be thought of as a safety net, assuring both parties that if the worst was to happen their financial security would be protected.

And thinking of these agreements as safety nets, as insurance, is the best mindset I can think of.

Nor can I think of any points omitted below that Hoosiers should not be thinking of when they live together:

The terms to be included in the agreement will be decided by both parties. The agreement can include details about property, payment of the mortgage, outgoings, ownership of contents, liability for debt, ownership of bank accounts and much more. This in-depth assessment at the outset is of particular value to those who have been married previously or who own their own home and feel that moving their partner in may give them a claim to the property.

Cohabiting couples have little access to the established law governing married couples in the event of a separation or getting a divorce. A Living Together Agreement at a very early stage can eradicate this problem and avoid complicated legal issues such as rights to property. If one partner’s name isn’t on the deeds but they have contributed to the mortgage or rent payments or if the home has been occupied as the family home of the children, documenting these contributions in the Living Together Agreement will avoid complicated legal claims and help both parties avoid any unpleasant surprises at the end of the relationship.

Mr Woolley added, “Normally the most significant asset of any partnership is the house and once you have decided to go your separate ways, the starting point is often to consider whose names are on the deeds to the property. There are some circumstances which may allow you to claim an interest in your former partner’s home, for example if it is the family home for children, or if you have paid towards it – but this is a complicated area of law and it is very important to get some advice from a family law expert on your particular situation.”

If you were not married to each other, the contents of your house can also end up being the fuel that lights the fire. The basic rule is that each item belongs to whoever paid for it, but in some cases couples will be able to agree that it would only be right for example, that whoever any children live with should have the use of the majority of items. Wishes such as these can recorded in a Living Together Agreement to settle any disputes, which may arise later.
I chatted with a young lady the other day who has lived with her guy for eleven years. Several years ago, they bought a house. No cohabitation agreement, of course. I hate to think what the litigation will cost her if the relationship ends.


Maryland Family Lawyer said...

Sure seems like many US residents are starting to adapt that 'living together agreement'. nowadays, more and more people are foregoing getting married.

Sam Hasler said...

I think this has been very true in my area for several years. What we are seeing more of are those with property living together - which just leads to litigation for the unprotected.