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Unmarried Partners


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Co-habitation v marriage – the legal differences

If you want an agreement to reflect your interests and protect your assets in the event of a separation, then you should consider obtaining a Cohabitation Agreement.

It is a common misconception that unmarried cohabiting couples have the same legal rights as married couples. So-called ‘common law marriage’ does not exist, regardless of how long a couple has lived together.

Cohabiting couples have less clearly defined legal rights than married couples – and this can cause unexpected challenges.

For this reason, we are advocates of Cohabitation Agreements, also referred to as a Living Together Agreement. This is a form of legal agreement which clearly sets out how you and your partner will manage your property and finances in the course of your relationship and in the event of separation.  A Cohabitation Agreement can cover various matters and should clearly set out respective interests in the family home.

A Cohabitation Agreement removes the emotional burden and worry about what would happen if you do separate from your partner and prevents future disagreements and costly court proceedings.

Our expert family law solicitors in Birmingham, Telford, Shrewsbury, Stafford and the surrounding areas can help you protect your legal rights from the outset of a relationship, safeguarding property and wealth in the future.

We know that everyone’s circumstances are different. At ORJ, we create tailored Cohabitation Agreements to meet everyone’s needs and goals.

Problems with cohabiting couples typically arise when separation occurs, particularly where property and shared assets are concerned. Complications can occur when, for example, the family home is owned solely by one party.

When this happens, we draw upon decades of experience in the field to guide unmarried couples through the challenges they face. It may be, possible, for example, to prove a legal or beneficial interest in that asset.

Where that is not possible, we will seek to reach a fair and sustainable agreement to decide how financial matters are concluded. Arrangements over children may also be a consideration.

This is an extremely complex area of law and expert advice should be sought at the earliest opportunity. 

For further information, please e-mail us or call 01785 223440