Unmarried Couples

Unmarried Couples – many couples decide to live together and choose not to get married.

In the event that the relationship breaks down there are issues to resolve in the same way that there are for a married couple in relation to finances, property and children.

However, it’s worth noting that there is no such thing as a common law marriage and unmarried couples do not have the same legal rights and protection provided to married couples.

My partner and I are planning to live together. How can I make sure my interests are protected?

Before moving in with your partner it is possible to draw up a legally binding agreement which makes clear at the outset who will be paying for what and what should happen in the event of the relationship breaking down.  These agreements are known as Cohabitation or Living Together Agreements.

Please do telephone a member of our family team – we will advise whether a Cohabitation Agreement is right for you.

My partner has left me – what am I entitled to?

There is no such thing as a common law husband or wife.  It will not be possible for either of you to make claims against each other for maintenance or for a share of pensions or other assets, unless you have a legal interest in those assets.  You cannot make the same financial claims that a married couple can which is why it is important to consider having a Cohabitation Agreement making your intentions and wishes clear.

The main asset which becomes a point of dispute if the relationship breaks down is usually the home in which the couple have lived.  The law in relation to rights in property is complex.  For advice as to whether you may have a claim to make in connection with a property please contact a member of our family team.