One of the downsides to having been in law for over 30 years, is that I’ve seen all the things that can go wrong. It doesn’t make me a pessimist, just a realist. It also makes me very keen to help my contacts avoid some of the mistakes that I’ve seen people make before.

From conversations I have with clients, they often assume that things like getting married, or going in to business with someone won’t actually change their lives that much, especially if they are already living with their other half, or employing the person that they want to have as their new business partner. Often those assumptions are wrong, but by the time they find that out, it’s too late.

Take home ownership for example. Given how many people are on their second (or third!) long term relationship it’s not uncommon for one person to be moving into the home of the other. If you are cohabiting in your partner’s home, and have a good cohabitation agreement, then the chances of you being able to make a claim against their property when they die or you split up, are practically impossible. However, what if you decide to get married. Does that change things? Well the answer is yes, it does. Even if your name isn’t on the title deeds, your marriage will automatically give you an interest in the property. How much of an interest will depend on a number of factors such as how long you’ve been married and how much you both earn, but in the short term you can ask a court to allow you to remain in the property, and even if you choose to leave, you can put a restriction on the property (it’s called a Home Rights Charge) which will prevent your spouse from selling their own home without your agreement or a court order. This could be the case even if you’ve never contributed a penny to it’s purchase or maintenance.

If you’re living with your partner or spouse in their property, or a property that is entirely in your name, and you’re not sure what your rights and obligations are, drop me a line for our guide to shared living options.   It’s free, so much cheaper than an engagement ring or a divorce!

Kleyman & Co Solicitors.  The full service law firm.  Because sometimes love is blind.