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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. As a result, it is advised that you sign a cohabitation agreement. A cohabitation agreement 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.

In cohabitation, 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?

Our Solicitors 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. This is because you are not legally related to them. Therefore a completion of a Will is essential in this case. A person who dies without writing a Will, may lose their possessions to a an undesired beneficiary.

Children in Cohabitation?

When a cohabitant couple separates, 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, therefore our solicitors are well placed in helping our clients. Our solicitors work to secure contact with children following a breakdown in family relations.

Domestic abuse within a Cohabitant relationship?

A victim of domestic abuse within a cohabitant relationship may seek the Family Homes and Domestic Violence legislation. The Family Homes and Domestic Violence Order 1998 in Northern Ireland, 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. Supposedly, the abuser violates this legislation, they may face an arrest and a criminal record.

How our Cohabitation Solicitors Can Help?

At P.A. Duffy and Co Solicitors, we understand how stressful it is for a domestic abuse victim in cohabitation to report their situation. Therefore we believe it is important that you know, this is an ‘ex-parte’ application which means ‘for one party’. This means that, only one party must be present in contacting the court. Therefore, 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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    Cohabitation Solicitors was last modified: July 14th, 2023 by Conal McGarrity