If you are two adults who share an emotional, physical and financial relationship similar to that of a married couple but choose not to marry, you should prepare a domestic (or life) partnership agreement to protect yourself should your partnership dissolve.
Read more about living together here.
1. Movable property: Provide for a fair division of household goods on dissolution. A good idea is to list the respective assets of the parties at the start of the relationship and agree whether or nor not these become joint assets. Similarly, keep a register of assets acquired during the relationship and agree whether these too become joint assets.
2. Immovable property:
a. Who owns the home that you live in? If it is co-owned, deal with the proportion of your respective shares and who gets what on dissolution.
b. If it is solely owned, you may consider compensating the non-owner for improvements done to the property at his or her expense.
c. If the common home is leased property, provide for who stays on when you part company.
3. Financial arrangements:
a. During the relationship will you operate a joint bank account? Who will pay the household and living expenses? Who will own cars and other assets? Who will enter into credit agreements? Will you take out life insurance on each other’s lives?
b. When the relationship ends who pays the debts of the partnership?
a. If you have or intend to have children, agree whether one partner is to support the other party during the relationship if such a partner is unemployed or staying home to care for small children born from the relationship.
b. As fathers of children born out of wedlock have no automatic rights (to guardianship, custody or access) but only an obligation to pay maintenance, provide for these rights on dissolution of your relationship. This will simplify an application to court to enforce these rights if the mother of the child proves difficult. In terms of the Children’s Act an unmarried father can acquire parental rights and responsibilities automatically (without needing to go to court) if he complies with conditions set out in section 21. Read more c. Provide for maintenance for the children and for the mother especially if she has been a stay-at-home mom and needs time to acquire marketable skills or become self supporting.
Your partnership will end through death, marriage to each other or an agreement to terminate or vary. The life partnership agreement should take into account the following factors when the relationship comes to an end. In addition to signing a life partnership agreement also draw up a will and make sure that that the terms of the documents do not conflict.
You can purchase your cohabitation agreement, online, for our inclusive fee of R1200. To proceed, click on the “Add to basket” icon below and pay the R1200 via your credit card. Once the payment is approved, the system will send you a link to insert your names, identity documents, etc. It will then generate your agreement and email it to us for approval. Once we are happy with it, we will email it to you for signature.
If you prefer to meet with us, or if you have special requirements that you will not find in a standard life partnership agreement, our inclusive will be R1938 (R1700 + VAT). This includes a meeting at our office with you and your partner where we advise you of the various options and act as a facilitator. Once you have reached an agreement, we will prepare the contract. If we have to spend more than an hour consulting and drafting, we may have to charge you more, but we will agree on the fee up-front.