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Unmarried Couples and Cohabitants

Many couples choose to live together without getting married. Despite commonly held misconceptions, there is no such thing as a ‘common law’ husband or wife and this can lead to all sorts of issues when a relationship breaks down as the law only offers limited protection for cohabitants.

Disputes often arise regarding ownership of the assets, particularly the family home and the outcome is predominantly focused on what financial contributions each party made throughout the relationship and not on an equitable split of the assets accumulated during that time. It is therefore important that you get the right legal advice about your rights and responsibilities and we are committed to offering that service whatever stage your relationship is at.

Recent case law and the uncertainty involved in this outdated area of law demonstrate how important it is for unmarried couples and cohabitants to protect their interests by documenting the terms of asset division in the event of separation. This is known as a Cohabitation Agreement.

Whilst the Cohabitation Agreement can be as detailed as you require, it will typically address ownership of property, how much each partner will contribute whilst living together and how the assets should be divided if the relationship comes to an end.

In the absence of a Cohabitation Agreement and where there is a dispute regarding the division of assets, we can offer you clear and effective legal advice, saving you time, stress and money.

Our family department has a wealth of experience in representing cohabitants and we can assist you from the outset of the negotiations, to arranging Alternative Dispute Resolution such as Mediation and providing representation at Court, where an agreement cannot be reached and it is necessary to apply to the Court for determination.

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