Tag: New relationships
Moving in together is no doubt a really exciting time for you, your partner and your family. But bringing a new partner into children’s lives can sometimes be hard. Everyone will react differently – and you may have your child’s other parent to manage.
Thinking ahead and being prepared can help you all adjust to having a new partner in your home. The information here will help you organise some of the practicalities of moving in together.
Helping your family adjust
Once you and your new partner have decided to move in together, it’s important to talk openly about this with your children. They’ll want to understand what that means and how things will be different. They’ll need to get used to the idea of having a step-parent. And your new partner will no doubt want to become a comfortable part of your family.
Family Lives, a charity working to build better lives for families, has some very useful guidance for new stepfamilies:
- What to think about when you become a stepfamily
- How to build a good relationship with stepchildren
- Things to consider for stepfamilies moving in together
If you or your children are struggling to adjust, help is out there. You could try family counselling through Relate to talk openly about your feelings and move forward together.
Your new living arrangements
Think about why you want to move in together. With the cost of living crisis and rising rental costs, it can be tempting to do this to save money – only to find out you weren’t quite ready to make that step. There’s no set length of time you should be together before moving in. But it’s good to think about how much you share your lives, why you want to live together, and what it will be like for your children to have a new adult in the household.
Will your new partner move in with you, or will you move in with them, or will you find a new home together? It’s important to consider how much space you need, what you can afford, how your children might feel about moving and whether they could stay at the same school, for instance.
It’s also important to think about what rights you’ll have around things like finances, property and children if you live together.
If you’re renting, your housing rights will depend on the type of tenancy you or your partner has and who is on the tenancy agreement. If you move into a home your partner owns or buy a place together, your rights and responsibilities will depend on whether you’re on the title deeds. Whether you rent or own your home, your housing rights are stronger if you’re married or in a civil partnership.
Advicenow has lots of information for couples moving in together, including details about your rights when living together.
Moving in with a new partner will also mean changes to your finances, and this can get complicated.
Talk about how you’re going to split your finances. You might want to discuss:
- How you’ll share the rent or mortgage, bills and other expenses
- If you’ll set up a joint account or keep your finances separate. One option is having a joint account just for shared bills but keeping the rest of your money separate
- Any debts you have, and how that will affect how you split your costs
- Your different attitudes to money. It’s normal to feel differently: for one of you to be a spender and the other a saver, for example – but it’s important to talk things over and agree how you’re going to budget each month
MoneyHelper has tips on talking to your partner about money.
Benefits and tax credits
If you’re getting benefits, you and your new partner will be seen as a household. This may mean that some of your benefits will need to be reassessed to reflect your new circumstances. You can use one of our online benefits checkers to see how your new situation changes things.
Here are some of the most common benefits and what you’ll need to do if you’re getting them.
- Tax credits – let the tax credits helpline know that you’ve got a new partner living with you. You need to do this within 1 month of moving in together
- Child Benefit – let the Child Benefit office know you have a new partner
- Council Tax reduction – contact your local council to let them know you’re no longer the only adult in your household. This means your single person discount will no longer apply
- Housing Benefit – you’ll also need to let your council know about the changes to your household if you’re getting help with housing
- Universal Credit – report the change through your Universal Credit online account
- Other benefits like Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance – let Jobcentre Plus know that you’re living with a new partner
If you’re on Universal Credit, you’ll be getting extra money for your children (the child element). This generally only applies to your first 2 children. So if you and your new partner have more than 2 children between you, this might affect your Universal Credit. Our Universal Credit page has more.
If you’re getting maintenance from your child’s other parent, your partner moving in won’t necessarily make a difference. Things might need to change if your children are going to be spending more or less time with their other parent.
If your new partner pays child maintenance to someone else, this will need to be reassessed. This is because the calculation should take into account that your new partner is now living with your children. Our page on using the Child Maintenance Service explains more about how maintenance is calculated.
Making a living together agreement
Think about making a living together agreement (also known as a cohabitation agreement). This is a record of what you own and share with your partner and can help you think about how to organise your finances. And if you ever split up, it can help you untangle things.
It might seem unromantic, but can protect you both down the road. It’s not legally binding unless you have it drawn up by a solicitor, but a court will generally follow it as long as it’s fair. Advicenow has a guide to making a living together agreement, including a template for what to include.