Unmarried Couples

Not all couples are treated equal. We can even the balance.

Unmarried Couples

Couples living together don’t often think about the need to take legal advice but that’s exactly what you should do.

It’s common for couples to choose to live together without getting married. Whilst this is no reflection on the commitment to each other, it does however impact on your legal rights.

The law treats cohabiting couples very differently to married couples or civil partners. They simply don’t have the same rights, 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.

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 cohabiting 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
  • 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: property, finances, assets, and 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 break-up.

Free Consultation

Our Family Law team offer a free 30 minute consultation for new clients and we offer flexible appointments that can be arranged around your work schedule.

Advice by telephone

We appreciate that it’s not always possible or easy to visit a solicitor in person. That’s why we offer a telephone service – it’s the same high quality advice from the same experienced lawyers, but with the added convenience of not having to make and attend appointments. We simply take your instructions and advise you over the telephone – call us today for a free initial consultation.

Fixed Fees

Our Family Law team are transparent with their prices and offer a variety of fixed fees. These can be found here.

The Unmarried Couples team

The Howells team is one of the best in the country. It has been consistently highly ranked for family work in the north, and is overseen by the hugely respected and much admired  Alyson Siddall. Alyson has developed a group of many talents but with shared values. Tough and resolute in their legal representation, sensitive and compassionate in their client relationships, the team understand that they’re not dealing with ‘cases’ but with people, not bound up in legal process but in real lives.

Chambers UK 2018
Howells was highly ranked as a law firm for Family Law by Chambers UK 2018. The prestigious guide said Howells is “Increasingly active in dealing with high net worth cases and child abduction cases over the past year. Bolstered by a designated mediation and collaborative law group.”

Legal 500 2018
The Legal 500 2018 ranks the Family department highly and states that “Howells handles the full spectrum of matrimonial work and children law matters. Alyson Siddall is ‘hugely experienced but always still keen to learn’, and heads the department which benefits from individuals based across Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley. Siddall is regularly instructed in complex financial arrangements and has additional expertise in private children matters and collaborative law. Sharon Lockwood is another key name to note for financial work, while Sarah Walker is highlighted for childcare matters.”

Please click here to view the family law department staff profiles.