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3 Reasons Cohabiting Partners Need a Family Lawyer

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There is a long-held belief that cohabiting partners are in a common-law marriage and entitled to the same legal rights as married couples or a civil partnership. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth; no legal criteria qualify cohabiting partners as common-law partners. Notably, most cohabiting partners believe that they do not need a family lawyer at any point in their relationship. However, cohabiting partners can and should work with family lawyers to navigate the legal complexities of cohabitation.

This article highlights three ways a family lawyer can help partners in a cohabiting relationship.

Prepare a Cohabiting Agreement

Cohabiting partners do not enjoy the same legal rights surrounding finances and children as their legally married counterparts. Therefore, you are not automatically entitled to a claim against a property your partner owns when you separate or upon death. However, you can still prepare a cohabitation agreement, but with the help of a family lawyer.

Preparing a cohabitation agreement, also referred to as a Binding Financial Agreement, helps partners planning to cohabit or those already cohabiting to protect their assets if the relationship breaks down. The agreement also establishes arrangements for children in case of separation or the death of one partner. The best part is that you can contact a family lawyer to help you prepare a cohabitation agreement at any point in your relationship.

Advice on Circumstances to Make Claims

Cohabitation is a complex area of family law. The reason is that it can be challenging to understand each partner's intentions when they enter a relationship, especially in the absence of a cohabitation agreement. Notably, a family lawyer can help you make a claim on a partner's property or order an ex-partner to make support payments. However, a lawyer can only do it if you can prove the existence of an implied contract between the two of you. Once you can establish an implied contract exists, a lawyer can ensure you get what you are entitled to even without a written agreement.

Conduct Forensic Investigations

As indicated earlier, there are circumstances where a cohabiting partner can claim a property or request child support. However, there must be sufficient evidence to support your claims, which you can only get through a forensic analysis of any contributions made by both partners. Experienced family lawyers work closely with financial experts and use the relations to conduct thorough investigations on reasons for monetary contributions. A lawyer uses the evidence collected to determine the potential claims one can make upon separation or death of their partner.