Terms and drafting—cohabitation contracts
Terms and drafting—cohabitation contracts

The following Family guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Terms and drafting—cohabitation contracts
  • Terms
  • Variation
  • Separation


While the terms of a cohabitation contract can be very wide, eg how much time the partners should spend with each other, such clauses are unlikely to be enforceable (see: Balfour v Balfour). Cohabitation contracts entered into overseas, eg in the USA, may take a different approach, but the same issues as to enforceability will apply in this jurisdiction. More practically focused provisions may include:

Financial provision for the parties

Although any provision for the payment by one cohabitant to the other during their relationship is unlikely to be enforced by the courts, the parties may, for the sake of certainty, wish to include such provision. Provision for the payment of maintenance after the end of the relationship may also be included, but the courts may hold that such an agreement is void on the grounds of public policy.

If such provision is included, clarity is required to set out:

  1. a clear definition of how much is to be paid

  2. how it is to be calculated

  3. when the payments are to cease, and

  4. what should happen if either party takes on more obligations, eg has another child