HM Insights

Cohabitants – why agreeing not to marry needn't mean you're rights aren't protected

The law in Scotland affords certain rights to individuals who had lived with their former partner as if 'husband and wife' or as 'civil partners' in the event of a separation or on the death of their partner.

Statistics published by the Scottish Government indicate that despite having a growing population, we have a declining rate of marriage and divorce. This would indicate that more couples may simply be deciding to live with one another as opposed to going through the process of marriage or civil partnership.

In recognition of this cultural change, the law in Scotland now offers greater protection to cohabitees in the event of a separation or death of their partner than was previously the case. However, the rights are not the same as those offered to civil partners or married couples.


Cohabitation agreements

If you are a couple who are thinking of moving in together or have been living together in a committed relationship for years and have chosen not to enter marriage or a civil partnership, you may wish to seek advice about how best to protect your interests.

A cohabitation agreement can provide numerous benefits to both individuals. Its purpose is chiefly to deal with what should happen in the (hopefully unlikely) event that the relationship breaks down or in the event of the death of one partner. A cohabitation agreement tailored to your needs can be as detailed or as simple as you would like. It can address issues like payment of household expenditure or who should retain particular assets in the event of a separation. Cohabitation agreements can not only offer protection but also peace of mind.

Get in touch

Our experienced team of family lawyers, based in Inverness, regularly advises couples on cohabitation across the Highlands and Islands, including Thurso, Caithness, Moray, Nairn, Ross-shire, Skye, Stornoway, Sutherland and Orkney.

We are here to help you plan for your future and your family's future.

Please get in touch with us on 01463 795 035 or click here to complete our Family Enquiry form for more information about cohabitation and how we can assist you. Our initial discussion is free of charge and we will then discuss all the options with you and help you choose the best path for your circumstances.

Useful links