DEAR DEIDRE: AFTER four years together, my partner and I are buying a house – but how do I protect myself if we ever break up?
We’ve both been through a divorce and as neither of us wants the hassle of splitting assets again, we decided not to get married. He’s 48 and I’m 42.
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I’m fine with this decision but I worry about where this leaves me if we split.
I don’t think this will happen – we’ve both given the other a promise ring, committing us to the other for life.
But I’m not stupid. He’s got two kids, aged seven and five, and more cash to put down, so I know he would end up with the house.
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I don’t have friends or family close by, so I would be out on the street.
Perhaps it seems silly to worry about something that hopefully isn’t on the cards but I was left with very little after splitting from my husband. I can’t go through that again.
DEIDRE SAYS: Many people do not like talking about money and assets but it is important you make these decisions together.
You are wise to be cautious. Unlike married couples or those in civil partnerships, cohabiting couples do not automatically have financial claims against each other upon separation.
Draw up a cohabitation agreement setting out what will happen if you were to split. Update your wills, too.
Contact Citizens Advice (citizensadvice.org.uk) for free information and consider talking to a solicitor.
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