A sharp increase in the number of cohabiting couples over the past 15 years or so has led to a rise in complex and often costly legal disputes when they split up.
If you're living with a partner or planning to live with a partner to whom you're not married, you may want to consider signing a cohabitation agreement. A cohabitation agreement is a written contract that sets forth your mutual rights and obligations with respect to joint and separate property.
It provides for who owns what and in what proportion and lets you document how you will divide your property, its contents, personal belongings, savings and other assets should the relationship break down. It can also cover how you will support your children, over and above any legal requirements to maintain them, as well as how you would deal with bank accounts, debts, and joint purchases such as a car.
The agreement can also be used to set out how you and your partner will manage your day-to-day finances while you live together, such as how much each contributes to rent or mortgage and bills, and whether you will take out life insurance on each other.