Expert guidance for cohabiting couples to plan their finances fairly if they split later

Since they moved in together at the start of the UK lockdown in March, Marijke and Danny’s relationship has gone from strength to strength. Marijke owns the flat they both live in — but Danny has recently come into an inheritance and wants to finance building an extension to their home. How can the cohabiting couple structure this arrangement in a way that will be fair to both of them if they later split up? Presenter Claer Barrett seeks guidance from experts, Michael Gouriet, partner in the family law team at Withers, the legal firm, and Angela Marson, chartered financial planner at Fairstone, the financial advisory business.

If you would like to talk to Claer for a future episode, please email the Money Clinic team at with a short description of your dilemma, and how you would like us to help. Follow Claer on Twitter and Instagram @Claerb and read her weekly Serious Money column in the FT Money section of the FT Weekend newspaper.

Further reading:

-Our guests on this episode were shocked to find out that cohabitation is such a ‘grey area’ of the law in England and Wales.

-This FT Money article by Lucy Warwick-Ching — Is my boyfriend entitled to a share of my flat if we split? — covers many of the legal options couples like Marijke and Danny could consider.

-Of course, talking about money is a big issue for many couples. This FT column by Claer — Six ways to manage money and not fall out with your partner — is packed with practical tips and is currently free to read.

-Michael Gouriet, the legal expert featured on this podcast, has also made a more in-depth podcast series with his firm Withers focusing on the issues arising from cohabitation agreements.

Finally, this column by the FT’s economics correspondent Delphine Strauss — Unmarried couples in the UK pay the price of an outdated system — looks at repeated attempts to reform the laws concerning the rights of cohabiting couples.

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