A couple holding eachother and wondering about being married or cohabiting.
Are you thinking about which is best, being married or common-law partners?

Married or cohabiting? Is there really a difference?

Have you thought about the legal differences between being married and cohabiting? And how to ensure that you and your partner have good legal protection regardless of which one you choose? There are some differences depending on if you’re married or cohabiting. But luckily, there are also some legal measures you can take to protect your interests, regardless of your marital status.

As cohabitants, you don’t inherit each other

This is important if you have children. If married, the surviving partner always inherits everything. If you have children together, this will be an advantage as it means that any residences, houses, cars and other assets can remain with the surviving partner. However, if you aren’t married and you have children together, the children will instead inherit the deceased parent in the first place. This means that the surviving parent in many cases needs to sell assets in order to pay out the children’s inheritance. Because of this, many find themselves in a difficult financial situation and are forced to move during a time when the sanctuary of the home and the safety of their own community are most important. To avoid such a scenario, writing a will to regulate the inheritance can be wise.

Joint assets as married or cohabiting

Another important difference between being married or cohabiting is the distribution of your assets. When being married, it’s assumed that everything you own together should be divided equally between the two of you if you choose to separate. This is also called the right to marital property or community property, meaning that regardless of how much each of you has invested, it doesn’t affect how the assets will be distributed. Each gets half is what applies. However, if you are common-law partners, only part of your property is regarded as joint. Your home and the things you have bought during your cohabitation is considered what you own together. Everything else is considered private property.

Both in a marriage and in a cohabitation relationship, however, it’s possible to control who owns what with certain legal documents. As married people, you can write a prenuptial agreement to prevent certain assets from being counted as joint. And as cohabitants, you can sign a cohabitation agreement. Both agreements can be signed before or after you have married/moved in together.

Talk to a lawyer

Do you need help from an expert in family law matters? Then you can book a call with Sofia Bergqvist Salomon in the Kliently app. Or have a look at the agreements and other legal documents that we offer at fixed prices.

Download the Kliently app for legal help today