Unmarried Couples and Cohabitation

Under the law of England and Wales, there is no such thing as a 'common law spouse'. Cohabitation rights are much more patchy and complex than many people think. If you are cohabiting with your partner, particularly if your property is owned rather than rented, you need to make sure your financial rights are protected.  As it currently stands, the law often leads to injustices for cohabiting couples if they separate or if one of the partners dies but there are steps you can take to improve the situation.

If you live with your partner but are not married or in a civil partnership, your rights and obligations relating to property and maintenance are very different. The cohabitation and divorce lawyers at JMW specialise in advising cohabitees on their rights.

Call a cohabitation rights expert on 0800 652 5577 or fill in our online enquiry form and we will get back to you.

Cohabitation agreements and deeds of trust

If you are moving in with someone or if someone is moving in with you, there are a whole host of potential legal issues to consider, especially if one of you owns the property or if you are buying a property together. A properly put together written agreement can help to reduce some of the uncertainty that can result in the event you separate in future. This can be as simple as setting out how the proceeds of sale of a property will be divided between you if the relationship ends or as complicated as a lengthy document dealing with all elements of your financial life together.

Cohabitation disputes

JMW has years of experience advising cohabitees and unmarried parents on a whole range of legal issues, including:

  • Property claims - Disputes arising between cohabitants involve complex trusts and property law, often resulting in significant legal costs. We can help guide you through this process, whatever side of the issue you find yourself on, and ensure that your rights are protected.
  • Financial provision under the Children Act 1989 - If you have children but are not married to or in a civil partnership with their other parent, the court can make financial orders to provide any dependent children and the person caring for them with a home and the means to meet their needs, if the financial resources are available. Although most child maintenance payments are dealt with either informally or via a government agency, rather than the courts, judges can still order that this maintenance be topped up where the paying party's income is very high, if there is a child with a disability or if there are school fees to be paid.
  • Disputes involving children - Unmarried fathers do not automatically receive parental responsibility and this can have far-reaching consequences. There are ways of obtaining parental responsibility even where the situation is contentious and we can guide you through this process

Contact JMW

As experts in cohabitation rights and unmarried property disputes, the team of family lawyers at JMW understands the legal issues affecting cohabiting couples.

Contact the team at JMW today to discuss your cohabitation rights and any disputes; call 0800 652 5577 or fill in our online enquiry form and we will get back to you.

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