Specialist cohabitation solicitors
Expert legal advice on cohabitation agreements, separation and disputes
If you live with your partner but are not married or in a civil partnership, our specialist cohabitation solicitors can advise you on reaching a formal agreement that sets out your shared and personal assets and responsibilities, giving you both a greater sense of security.
If your relationship has broken down, we can advise you on separating your finances and agreeing how you will co-parent in the best interests of your children, helping you to resolve any disputes as amicably as possible.
For expert legal advice on a cohabitation agreement or dispute, call 0800 422 0123 or get in touch online to arrange a consultation with one of our cohabitation solicitors.
On this page
- Who we can help
- Why make a cohabitation agreement?
- Cohabitation agreements
- Cohabitation and separation
- Cohabitation disputes
- Why choose us?
The widely held views around “common law marriage” and the longer the relationship the greater the entitlement to assets and income, are simply not true. So, it’s important to be fully aware of your legal rights and what would happen if you split up.
Our family law solicitors regularly advise:
- Cohabiting couples who are not married or in a civil partnership
- Unmarried parents who have decided to separate
- Unmarried couples who are separating and own property
- Unmarried couples who are separating and in business together
In this video, Chris Longbottom, a partner in our family law team, debunks the myth of a ‘common law marriage’ and discusses the rights cohabiting partners have on separation. He explains how a well-drafted cohabitation agreement can be beneficial for both partners.
Our specialist solicitors can advise you on drawing up a cohabitation agreement, setting out your individual financial responsibilities in the relationship and how any shared property and assets would be divided up if it were to end.
Taking this practical and pragmatic step now can give you both financial certainty and minimise the chances of a serious dispute between you in the future.
If you separate, you will not have any financial liability for your ex-partner. Neither of you will be entitled to spousal maintenance or have any rights over the other’s property or assets.
If you have children together, their welfare will no doubt be your top priority. The law also prioritises children and is the same whether you are married or not. Any parent must financially support their children and the Courts will apply the same decision-making process to a Child Arrangements Order if you cannot agree between yourselves.
However, as unmarried parents, only the mother will get parental responsibility. For the father to also have parental responsibility, they will need to be named on the child’s birth certificate or get an order from the Court.
Our cohabitation specialists can assist with negotiating a financial settlement and agreeing arrangements for children with your ex-partner. We can also document these decisions in a formal separation agreement.
Although not legally binding, a separation agreement drafted correctly by an experienced solicitor will clearly show your intentions to the Court should a dispute arise in the future.
When you’re not married, the legal process for dividing assets on divorce or dissolution does not apply, irrespective of your family makeup or how long you’ve been together.
Each asset that you or your partner want to dispute will be considered in its own right – another reason why a cohabitation agreement is a smart pre-emptive step to resolve matters quickly should your relationship break down.
Our experienced cohabitation solicitors can advise you on how to protect your assets and reach a resolution that is acceptable to you both, ideally through negotiation or mediation, although more complex or contentious disputes may need to go to Court.
Resolving property disputes for cohabiting couples
Unlike a divorcing couple, you may not have any rights to your partner’s property if you separate and no automatic right to stay in your home unless you are named on the title deeds or tenancy.
If your relationship ends without a cohabitation agreement in place, property rights can become a highly sensitive and contentious area, often requiring expert legal advice to resolve your dispute and secure the right outcome.
Our specialist cohabitation solicitors have helped resolve many different types of property dispute between unmarried couples, either through our mediation services or through the Courts when necessary.
Common property disputes between cohabiting couples
- If you own a property as joint tenants or tenants in common (where you each own an equal or unequal share, e.g. 70:30) and are unable to agree on how to divide your home’s value between you.
- If one of you owns the property but the other has made a significant financial contribution and consider ownership to be shared.
- If one of you owns the property but the other is the parent who has day to day care of children, they may have a claim for capital to purchase a property to live in whilst the children are growing up.
- If one partner believes the other has promised them an interest in the property (but if this wasn’t documented, it can be very difficult to prove).
- Sensitive and pragmatic approach
- Collaborative lawyers and trained mediators on our family law team
- Committed members of Resolution, taking a non-confrontational approach to family matters wherever possible
- Our family solicitors are highly rated by The Legal 500 and Chambers Guide
- Experts in other legal disciplines within our firm can advise on any complexities that arise from your cohabitation agreement or dispute
- Competitive pricing and close monitoring of costs at all times
Speak to a specialist cohabitation solicitor
If you need legal advice about any issue relating to cohabitation, be it drawing up an agreement or settling a dispute, please contact our family law solicitors. Call us now on 0800 422 0123 or get in touch online to book your initial consultation.