There has been a rising trend in the last decade where more couples are deciding to cohabit rather than marry. There is a common myth about cohabitation and unmarried couples living together, where they are seen as common law ‘husband and wife’. This is not the case and is quite a dangerous position to be in. With nothing legal such as a marriage or civil-partnership in place, both people are free to stay or go as they think fit. Should you decide to separate from your partner, your property and positions will be in a tricky situation.

Many people who cohabit fail to adequately protect themselves or their assets in the event of a relationship breakdown.  Despite the common belief that if you live together in a long term relationship you have the same rights as those who are married or in civil partnership. The word lawyers use for people living together without marriage or civil-partnership is ‘cohabiting’.   Cohabitants have very different rights concerning property and financial matters and most importantly there is no legal requirement for cohabitants to be ‘fair’ when the relationship breaks down.

Living together and having joint ownership of property and shared income can make a separation very complex. We advise clients to arrange a cohabitation agreement as early as possible to set out your position should your relationship unfortunately come to an end. A cohabitation agreement will clearly lay out the ownership of belongings such as a pension or property.

We are also able to provide advice and representation should child arrangement and child contact need to be put in place. Please see our Child and Parenting Disputes content to see how we can help you in your situation.

Major Family Law is one of the best family law firms in the north east specialising in matters of divorce and splitting up, child and parental disputes, injunctions, financial provisions and more. Our team all specialise exclusively in family law making us the best choice for your dedicated family solicitor in the North East.

If your relationship breaks down, there are often arrangements that need to be made and children to consider. We offer a free 45-minute consultation with the leading family solicitors in the north east, either on the phone, over Zoom or in person, to discuss your rights, belongings, property and children.