Many of those choosing to cohabit as a simpler alternative to marriage or civil partnership believe that their legal rights, responsibilities and protection are broadly similar in ‘common law’. This is not the case, the legal basis for such relationships is quite different – the law does not determine what a cohabiting partner is entitled to and claims can be complex and confusing. This is the case no matter how long partners have been living together and applies equally to same sex or opposite sex couples.
In the event of a breakdown in this type of relationship a common issue experienced by our Family Law team relates to disputes over property – whether jointly owned or in the sole ownership of one partner. Unlike married couples or those in a civil partnership, the legal framework governing cohabitation is based on property and trust law. The power of courts to make discretionary judgements is therefore far more limited than for married couples.
Our Family Team can offer legal advice and help resolve property and asset disputes if you are cohabiting and experiencing a relationship breakdown.
To provide greater security for both partners as well as giving clarity to financial agreements, property and asset ownership we strongly recommend drawing up a legally binding Cohabitation Agreement (Living Together Agreement). This can be done at any time and goes some way towards giving partners the protection and peace of mind they would enjoy in a marriage or civil partnership.
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Call 0800 080 3940 or email to contact a member of our team.
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