Many people that cohabit together are under the misconception that they have a “Common Law Marriage”. However, there is no such thing. Cohabiting couples do not have the same financial claims upon the breakdown of their relationship, as a spouse or civil partner would.
Cohabiting couples can regularise their living together arrangements by way of entering into a Cohabitation Agreement. Cohabitation Agreements can include many financial aspects of relationships including defining contributions to the mortgage/bills, payment for motor vehicles, holidays, etc. and what should happen upon the breakdown of the relationship.
A Cohabitation Agreement can be particularly helpful where you have already defined your beneficial interest in a jointly owned property by way of a Declaration of Trust and you want to ensure that payment of bills and property expenses will not impact on what you intended. It can also deal with issues such as the continued occupation by your partner in the event of your death, (subject to any provision you may have made in a Will).
During the course of a relationship, future intentions may change and marriage may be considered. It may then be appropriate to enter into a Pre-Nuptial Agreement to try to regulate your financial circumstances in the unfortunate event of your marriage ending in Divorce.