A couple living or intending to live together can draw up a cohabitation agreement saying how property will be divided should the relationship end. To be enforceable, agreements must be in writing and signed by both partners. Once a written cohabitation agreement has been made it can be varied or revoked by written or verbal agreement, unless the agreement is a ‘certificated agreement’. In this case it can only be varied or revoked by another certificated agreement.
A certificated agreement cannot be changed or set aside by the court unless there was fraud or another extreme circumstance. Disputes can also be minimised by not putting property into joint names unless each person contributes equally, and by keeping a record of who pays for items purchased, as well as keeping receipts.
Also, avoid making statements that property is ‘ours’ or ‘shared’ unless that is your real intention.