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How to make a Cohabitation agreement

A cohabitation agreement is an agreement between partners who live together and want to ensure clarity both during the course of the relationship and in the event that it should break down in regards to their rights in relation to property and children.

Set out financial arrangements between you and your partner when you live together using this cohabitation agreement (also known as a 'no-nup'). This simple living together agreement protects your assets acquired before living together. It also specifies how living expenses will be distributed and how assets and debt acquired during cohabitation will be shared. Create this formal agreement so that in the event you do cease living together it is clear who owns what.

Use this cohabitation agreement template if:

  • you are either living with someone or are about to start living with someone
  • you want to be clear about the ownership of assets and how bills will be paid
  • you want a formal agreement that could be taken into consideration by the courts if you split up

Find out more about managing personal relationships.

This cohabitation agreement specifies that:

  • the couple's incomes remain separate
  • assets owned before the cohabitation remain the property of the person who acquired them
  • assets acquired jointly after the cohabitation are joint property
  • assets acquired by one person after the cohabitation remain the property of that person
  • jointly acquired debts are the joint liability of the couple
  • living expenses will either be paid equally or in agreed percentages (optional)

If you would like for your cohabitation agreement to include specific provisions (eg in relation to pensions) not currently covered by the document, Ask a lawyer for further assistance.

You should consider making a cohabitation agreement when you decide to live with your partner to ensure that both of you are clear about the ownership of assets and how bills will be paid. A cohabitation agreement also sets out how affairs will be managed in case of a relationship breakdown.

Both parties are required to take independent legal advice before entering into this agreement. It is also required that both parties enter into this agreement freely and voluntarily and that you both make full relevant financial disclosures in order to avoid future allegations of undue influence.

The assets owned before the cohabitation and the assets acquired by one person after the cohabitation remain the property of the person who acquired them. However, the jointly acquired assets after cohabitation commenced are the joint property of both partners.

Once you enter into this agreement, neither of the parties will be held liable for any of the liabilities incurred in the sole name of the other party. They will only be liable in equal shares for the debt acquired jointly.

This agreement can be terminated on the occurrence of the following events:

  • the death of one of the partners
  • when the partners enter into a marriage or civil partnership with each other or with another person
  • both partners mutually agree to terminate this agreement by deed
  • when one of the partners hands in a written notice of termination to the other
  • the partners have or adopt a child
  • when the court sets this agreement aside

On termination, the assets acquired after entering into this agreement will be sold and the net proceeds of sale divided equally between both partners. Any joint debt will have to be arranged with the lender to be repaid in equal shares as well. Other separate property and income will remain with the owner. Each partner will remain liable for their personal debts.

Ask a lawyer for:

  • legal advice before entering into this agreement
  • if you have complex financial assets
  • if you have children
  • if either of you is disabled

This cohabitation agreement is governed by the laws of England and Wales or Scotland.

Other names for Cohabitation agreement

Living together agreement, No-nup agreement.

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