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Information » People in Your Life » Being in a Relationship » Living Together

Living Together

There are over 4 million couples in Wales and England currently live together.

Moving in together for the first time can be romantic and exciting, but sharing a house or flat can make or break a relationship, so be certain before you both commit to living together.

You will be sharing each others space all the time and its important to realise that this can sometimes be frustrating.

  • Getting to know each other well first is essential. Living together may seem like a great idea, but how well do you get on now? Will you still get on when you share your time and space with each other?
  • Living together will require you to adapt your lifestyle, so remember to think about how this will affect you both
  • Before you move in together, it can help to have a talk about what you expect from each other
  • You may want to sort out money, how to divide up the housework and making time for each other before you decide to move in
  • One of the things couples who are considering living together are advised to do is to list all their possessions saying who owns what. This makes it a lot easier to divide things if a relationship ends. Arguments over possessions are one of the main reasons why couples land up in court
  • You may want to set up a joint account to pay your rent or mortgage, bills and shopping. Any bank or building society can arrange this for you

Buy or rent?

  • If you haven't lived together before you may want to start out by renting somewhere to live for a few months first as a trial period. This will give you time to decide if it is the right move for you both
  • If you are thinking about buying a house together, there are many important points you will need to consider whether you are married or unmarried. If you are unmarried and buying a house together, where you will both contribute to the mortgage, make sure both your names are on the mortgage

Your rights

It is important you are aware of your rights just in case things don't work out between the two of you.

  • If you are unmarried and living together, the law treats you as two separate individuals with no rights or liabilities to each other if you break up
  • Most people think that after you have been living with your partner for two years or more you get the same legal rights as married couples ('Common law marriage'). This isn't true, this law hasn't existed since 1753! In fact, you have very few rights
  • It will be left to the both of you to split what you own or pay for together and this can be a messy and emotional process. You need to shut down joint accounts, sort out the bills or sell the house and it often leaves people vulnerable. For example, your partner could close your joint account and take all the money in it without your consent
  • You may want to consider putting together a Cohabitation Agreement or Deed of Trust to cover your property or financial arrangements. However they are not always enforceable

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