Put simply, it is important to set out what each party’s intention is right from the beginning.
If someone wishes to protect their interest within a property that they intend to purchase or if both parties to a purchase wishes to establish the extent of their ownership, the best way of ensuring this would be for both parties to enter into a document called a Cohabitation Agreement. Or a Declaration of Trust.
This is document that evidences the legal agreement reached between a couple who have chosen to live together. This could not only set out the terms of their cohabitation but can also extend beyond separation and can therefore include an intention as to what should happen with the children and maintenance etc.
Whilst there is no guarantee that the court will support the terms of the cohabitation agreement, there is more chance of this if there is provision that the agreement will be reviewed should there be a change in the couple’s circumstances. Further, it would help if both parties were separately and legally represented at the time it was drafted and that both intended for the terms of the cohabitation agreement to be binding.