Maintaining an intimate and committed relationship without formalising your union through marriage or a civil partnership.
The myth and the reality
Many couples live together for a lifetime without the formality of marriage or a civil partnership. For others, the fact that no particular rules apply on relationship breakdown can be confusing. Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as ‘common law marriage’ and no entitlement to financial support or a share of property or other assets held in your ex-partner’s name, regardless of the duration of your relationship. Our lawyers can help you consider ways to protect yourself in the event of relationship breakdown before cohabiting.
Moving in with a partner
Our expert family team can work with you to prepare a Cohabitation Agreement: a written, signed document dealing with who owns what and in what proportions, what financial arrangements you have decided to make while you are living together and how property, assets and income should be divided if you should split up. You can make a cohabitation agreement at any time, whether you are just about to start living together or if you have been doing so for many years.
Purchasing property with a partner
If you are purchasing a property with your partner, it is a good time to consider the legal implications. This is particularly important if you are making unequal contributions. The way you decide to own the property will have significant implications if you later separate. These vary depending on the proportion you each contribute to the property, whether it is bought in both your names, or one person’s sole name but the other partner intends to make some form of contribution. In any event, legal advice will ensure you understand the implications of your choices and will inform you of ways in which you can both set out your understanding in a document you can later rely on such as a Declaration of Trust.
Separating from a partner
Property rights for cohabiting couples differ depending on whether you live in rented accommodation or own a property together. If the property is owned it also depends on how you own that property, as joint tenants or tenants in common. We can advise you on how you own the property with your partner and the options that are available to you should you separate.
Suzy and her team were extremely helpful and understanding and helped me to deal with matters at a very stressful time.
Client of Suzy Hamshaw
Stephanie is exceptional. I will forever be grateful to Stephanie for her unrivalled expertise, care and guidance during the intense process of family separation.
Client of Stephanie Buckeridge
Stephanie provided a fantastic service. She was responsive, very considerate in her approach and provided feedback during the entire process. I genuinely can’t think of anyone more capable and qualified to support family law cases. Highly recommended.
Client of Stephanie Buckeridge
Professional, understanding and amazing value for money. I would highly recommend Nicola Weeks!