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Protecting your home

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I’ve recently settled a case following the breakdown of a couple’s relationship. The property was registered in the sole name of one of the parties, my client. He thought the relationship would last forever and didn’t think about what would happen if they split up and she tried to claim a share of his property. Even though it has now been confirmed that his partner does not have an interest this has left him with a large legal bill due to legal proceedings brought by his ex-partner. He could have possibly avoided the proceedings and the costs involved had a cohabitation agreement been prepared prior to the parties moving in together!
If you do not want your partner to have an interest in your home you need to make this clear from the outset. Sayings like ‘this is our home’ and the ‘family home’ can potentially show that you agreed during the relationship that the property was jointly owned.
Further allowing your partner to pay the mortgage or for home improvements even on a one off basis could potentially give your partner the basis to bring a claim against your home. 
Even though you might start out confirming to your partner she has no interest, over time you could forget and this could lead to a claim being brought if you separate. With a cohabitation agreement you have secure knowledge that your home is protected in the event of an unfortunate breakdown of your relationship.
Whether you are about to move someone in with you or you are already in cohabitation our team can advise you of your options and the type of items you should include in a cohabitation agreement. Most agreements are drafted in a specific way which confirms the intention that your partner is NOT to have an interest in your property regardless of contribution.
By consumer executive, Gillian Lavelle