Advice for Unmarried Couples (Cohabiting)

If you live together with your partner as an unmarried couple (cohabiting) it can be complex when separating as the law doesn’t proscribe financial agreements as it does for married couples.

Without a living together agreement (Cohabitation Agreement), there is often very little that can be done to resolve financial disputes using family law proceedings.

The family courts could be used in certain cases, but this depends on how property and businesses are owned, e.g. jointly or tenants in common.

Information and advice for couples that live together but aren’t married.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as common-law marriage; it is a myth.

The law on property and financial rights are different from those of marriage or civil partnerships, which can make splitting up more difficult.

There are no automatic financial rights for couples that live together, even in long relationships as there are in other types of relationships, e.g. marriage or civil partnership.

The law for marriage and civil partnerships in the UK allows for a financial settlement to be made when going separate ways, which is tailored to your individual circumstances.

There is a range of options available for couples in those types of relationships to ensure that both parties receive a fair division of the property and financial assets.

When unmarried couples separate there can be a lot of decisions to make, for example, what rights do you have to property, possessions, pensions, or maintenance?

One type of legal agreement that is becoming more commonplace is a Cohabitation Agreement.

As more couples decide to live together without entering into a marriage, these agreements can help you separate property or finances fairly if your relationship breaks down.

Use this section to find more information on the rules, rights, and laws for cohabiting couples living together.

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    What Should I Know About The Law?

    Firstly, you need to understand that there is no such thing as a common-law marriage in England and Wales.

    The laws for couples living together when unmarried are completely different from the divorce laws or those for civil partnerships.

    You should access your options and get advice on entering into a legal agreement to ensure that when you separate, it can be done fairly with as little fuss as possible.

    How Much Does Divorce Cost?

    The amount of money a divorce costs you depends on a range of factors, but roughly speaking you should expect to pay £600 – £1200 plus court fees (£550).

    If you happen to get a divorce online using our services then you can reduce the costs of divorce to £600 – £800 including the court fees.

    Our divorce experts have written about divorce costs and simple tips on how you can reduce them.


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