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At Eric Robinson Solicitors, we advise and support unmarried couples who are separating, and help them deal with the financial consequences.


There is a common belief that if you live with someone for a certain length of time you become “common law man and wife”. This is incorrect because there is no such concept in law. Instead, unmarried couples who live together are known as “cohabitees”.

Unmarried couples living together, whether with or without children, are the fastest growing family type in the UK. Despite this, it is much less common for cohabiting couples to take any form of legal advice prior to the cohabitation, or even at the point of separation. This means that many people have either an incorrect or incomplete understanding of their legal rights.

If you are look to cohabit and/or buying a property together, there are steps that you can take to protect your position in the event that the relationship fails and you subsequently choose to separate. A cohabitation agreement can save a lot of heartache and cost in the event that a relationship does not work out. This is because they can regulate how assets and income are to be dealt with. At Eric Robinson Solicitors, we can provide you with a cohabitation agreement to suit your specific needs.

When a period of cohabitation comes to an end there is no one single piece of legislation or law that a separating partner can use in order to resolve property, financial and/or children issues. For example, where parents are not married or civil partners, it is still important to consider the financial arrangements for children. This is often left to the Child Maintenance Service, but in certain cases the children are entitled to financial provision from the wealthier parent to help with matters such as accommodation, school fees, care and so on. This can sometimes also include the provision of maintenance when a child goes on to university or further education.

If you have been cohabiting, and are in the process of separating, the team of expert lawyers at Eric Robinson Solicitors are here to assist.

FAQs

Do couples who cohabit have the same rights as married couples?

There is often confusion about this but they do not.

But we’re common law man and wife?

We often hear this but it is not correct. There is no such legal concept as common law man and wife.

What rights will I have if I separate?

It will depend on the exact circumstances but the two main areas to consider will be how to share any property and what arrangements to make for any children.

How can I protect myself?

The best way to protect yourself is to plan and to take advice before moving in together. This will enable you to understand the impact of living together and what needs to be considered to ensure that you are protected as much as possible. It is also important that you understand what you may be entitled to if you separate.

What is a Cohabitation Agreement?

A Cohabitation Agreement is an agreement which can outline the practical and financial arrangements of living together. It can include details such as who will pay the mortgage, the household bills and how the property would be divided if you were to separate.

Why would I need one?

We would recommend that you have one as this means that you will have discussed all of the issues that you need to discuss before you move in together and this should help alleviate any problems if the relationship were to break down.

What is the process?

We can draw up the agreement to include the information that you want included. We would then recommend that your partner takes independent legal advice.

What can be included?

Arrangements concerning who will be paying the mortgage and the household bills. It can also confirm how the property will be divided if it is sold.

Do we both need a lawyer?

We would recommend that both parties take legal advice. However, only one lawyer is required to draw up the document.

How can I find out more?

You can find out more by booking an Initial Fixed Fee Interview with one of our team

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