Cohabitation

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What is Cohabitation?

Cohabitation is when two people live together outside marriage or civil partnership. In Northern Ireland, the law does not recognise couples who live together as a legal partnership therefore, it is advised that you sign a cohabitation agreement. This is a document which both parties must sign to clarify what will happen should they ever separate. This agreement will secure your rights in case of future separation.

If a couple share a mortgage and then separate, both parties are liable to repay that joint mortgage, regardless of separation or vacancy in the property. If debt is left unpaid both individuals will be jointly responsible and will equally face repercussions.

Cohabitation Will

At PA Duffy & Company Solicitors we advise our cohabitation clients to write a Will as evidence that you wish to benefit your significant other. It is important to know that your cohabitant partner will not be considered your next to kin because you are not legally related to them, therefore a completion of a Will is essential in this case. In the case of an unwritten Will after the person has died, their possessions will be given to a beneficiary they may not be content with.

Children in Cohabitation

In the case of the cohabitant couple separating, there is a presumption that they keep whatever they owned prior to the relationship. However, this is not as simple if the couple have children together. Both parents are entitled to see and develop a relationship with their child. If this cannot be mutually agreed, then we advise you to contact our family law team.

We have expertise in child law disputes, our solicitors have experience in helping our clients to secure contact with children following a breakdown in family relations.

Domestic abuse within a Cohabitant relationship

If you are a victim of domestic abuse within a cohabitant relationship you may seek the Family Homes and Domestic Violence legislation. In Northern Ireland, the Family Homes and Domestic Violence Order 1998 protects the victim from physical and emotional abuse. The victim may apply for a non-molestation order, which prohibits the abuser from molesting the victim. If the abuser violates this legislation, they may face an arrest and a criminal record.

How We Can Help

At PA Duffy and Company, we understand how stressful it is for a victim of domestic abuse to report their situation. We believe it is important that you know, this is an ‘ex-parte’ application which means ‘for one party’. Therefore, only one party must be present in contacting the court, so the victim is protected as the abuser is not aware of the order granted against them until the PSNI contact them.

Do not hesitate to complete our online enquiry form for further information and legal guidance.

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Call us now on 028 8772 2102 (UK) / 01 533 7860 (IE), or Make An Online Enquiry and we will soon be in touch.

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    Cohabitation was last modified: July 29th, 2021 by Conal McGarrity