Unfortunately, there is little protection under UK law for couples who live together without being married. Although many people believe in ‘common law marriage’, there is actually no such thing and, for this reason, regardless of how long a couple live together, there are no automatic rights for cohabitees on separation.
It is therefore imperative to receive strong legal advice before you start living with your partner, so that options for your protection can be explored in advance. If this was not done at the start of your cohabitation and you now find yourself separated from your partner, getting in touch with our expert family team will allow you to consider the options that remain available to you.
Due to the limited protection available to cohabitees, cohabitation agreements can be used as a method of setting out exactly what should happen in the event a couple split. Cohabitation agreements, if entered into properly, are binding contracts and, therefore, it is imperative to use an experienced family lawyer to ensure they afford the maximum possible protection.
In the event an unmarried couple have children, a cohabitation agreement will not include provisions for them, as to do so would be against public policy. Our family law team are experienced in helping couples reach agreements for children in such scenarios and will always encourage parents to negotiate in relation to them.
In the event the matter has to be dealt with in court, our family lawyers will always be sensitive and ensure that the child’s needs are kept as the main focus, so that the situation can be resolved as swiftly as possible.