It is becoming increasingly popular for couples to live together without getting married (i.e. cohabit). However, it brings with it some unique legal issues.

Many couples who live together do not realise that there is no such thing as ‘common law’ marriage under English law. They are often surprised to find out how few legal rights they have compared to married couples. Even if you have children, you do not have the same rights as couples who are married or have entered into a civil partnership.

If you are not married and your relationship breaks down, then you could find yourself facing complex legal challenges regarding, for example, the ownership of your property – it may be that you do not have automatic rights to it. It will very much depend on whether your name is on the title deeds, and whether you have made any financial contribution towards the property.

Avoiding disputes

In order to avoid stressful (and often costly) legal disputes in the event of a relationship breakdown, it is better to put in place an agreement at the very beginning, defining how your finances, property, and arrangements for any children will be dealt with if you were to separate.

This is called a “Living together Agreement”, also known as a “Cohabitation Agreement”. It is legally binding, and can be amended to address any topics you may wish to, such as family pets or cars.

Sensitive, approachable legal experts

We appreciate that having these sorts of discussions with your partner can be difficult, which is why we endeavour to deal with these matters with the utmost sensitivity. We will help facilitate productive conversations between the two of you, avoiding any possible conflict.

We work for you

At Attwaters Jameson Hill, we work for you. We offer times that suit your schedule, explain things in plain English (not legalese), and will guide you through the process step-by-step, ensuring we’re always working at a pace you’re comfortable with.

To get in touch, please email our Family Law solicitor, Stephanie Holmes, at stephanie.holmes@attwaters.co.uk.

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