Why a cohabitation agreement is essential for non-married couples

Unmarried couples have no legal rights if they separate – so without an agreement, one of them could be left with nothing

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.

Despite what many believe – and around one in four people living together think they have the same legal protection as married couples, according to research by the Co-op – there is no status in English law as a common-law spouse or partner.

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