We Can Advise on Cohabiting Couples Separation Rights
Unmarried couples are often referred to as living in ‘cohabitation’ or ‘common law spouses’ and there are many misconceptions about their legal rights.
The law treats cohabiting couples very differently from married couples or civil partners. Cohabiting couples’ separation rights are simply not the same, regardless of the length and nature of the relationship. It comes as a surprise to many, but the notion of ‘common law wife or husband’ is just a myth.
We know it can be worrying to contact a Solicitor, but you’ll find our team approachable and easy to talk to. Always remember we are on your side. Our Family Law Solicitors cannot take away the pain, but they can help you rebuild for the future.
How Our Family Law Team Can Help
Steps taken at the beginning can help avoid stressful, costly legal proceedings at the end, whether this be for planning your future together, or to help keep things fair should a relationship breakdown occur.
Our Family Law specialists can support unmarried couples by:
- Giving clear advice on how best to protect your legal interests from the outset
- Help write a Cohabitation Agreement or Living Together Agreement – Much a like a pre-nuptial agreement, this allows couples to protect their financial interests and set out the day-to-day financial issues in the relationship
- Negotiate financial settlements after separation
- Lasting Power of Attorney – An important safeguard to enable one partner to make decisions about the finances and/or welfare of the other in the event that they cannot do so for themselves
- Wills – Without the protection afforded to married couples, a will is essential to ensure your partner is provided for in the event of your death
- Trusts – A consideration if you want to make special provision for existing children or if you are planning to have children together
- Inheritance tax planning – Cohabiting couples do not benefit from the special exemption enjoyed by married couples and should plan accordingly
Breakdown of Relationship
If your relationship has broken down and no cohabitation or other legal agreement exists, then we can thoroughly investigate your position and advise you on all key issues. This includes:
- Provision for children, including trusts, maintenance, residence, contact, and Parental Responsibility Orders.
Wherever possible, we try to avoid any confrontation, often supporting you through mediation or collaborative services to help the two parties come to a mutually acceptable agreement. Such an approach can significantly reduce costs and lessen the inevitable stress of a breakup.
Unmarried Couples FAQs
What are Cohabiting Couples Entitled To?
Living together without being married or in a civil partnership means you will not have many rights around finances, property, and children. You could consider getting a Cohabitation Agreement in order to protect your interests.
Do Cohabiting Couples Have to Support Each Other Financially?
Cohabiting couples have no legal obligation to support each other financially, either while living together or after separation.
What Happens to Children if an Unmarried Couple Split Up?
It’s important to identify whether you have parental responsibility if you are an unmarried couple who is separating. Unmarried mothers will automatically get parental responsibility for a child from birth, however, fathers or partners may not. Our team of expert solicitors will be able to advise you on this and discuss your options.
Our Family Law Fees
Our family law team offer transparent and affordable prices to suit all financial circumstances. You will always be kept up to date with costs and they offer fixed fees for most areas, so you are always in full control.
Find a full list of our fees here.
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