In the UK, cohabiting couples have no legal obligations towards one another that may arise from their relationship. There is a myth of ‘common law marriage’ that is still alive and it is surprising how many people believe that a man and woman living together acquire a special legal status. In fact, this legal term was abolished several hundred years ago.
Couples can however, have legal obligations that arise from other sources such as owning a property or having children together.
It is usually only on separation that unmarried couples become sometimes painfully aware of what legal rights they have. The law generally treats them as unrelated individuals and this is where you may require our expertise.
We are immensely proud of the work we do and have confidence in our ability to do our best for you.
Some other matters our separation solicitors and child law solicitors cover include:
- Unmarried Couples
- Cohabitation property disputes
- Relationship Breakdown
- Cohabitation Agreements
- Ending A Relationship
- Separation Agreement
Contact a Cohabitation Lawyer at Dominic Levent Solicitors today for immediate assistance.
0208 347 6640
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Why choose Dominic Levent Solicitors?
Our family law solicitors will attempt to resolve your case as logically and professionally as possible. Our cohabitation lawyers and prenuptial lawyers can provide clear, constructive and sensitive premarital advice individually tailored to your circumstances to help you decide whether or not a premarital agreement is right for you.
Our solicitors can provide you with the advice you need, whether you are starting out together and want to avoid any possible arguments in the future, or you are investing more money or property, into the relationship than your partner. Our lawyers will make sure that your assets are protected.
How can our Family Specialist Solicitors help you?
Our lawyers can ensure that your agreement is drafted with the utmost care and meticulous attention to detail, so that it has the best chance if being influential in the event that your relationship breaks down in the future.
At Dominic Levent we pride ourselves on outstanding client care, and our will ensure that you are constantly updated with developments and any potential issues that may arise in drafting. Our prenuptial lawyer will prioritise your needs and provide expert advice to assist you when drafting or negotiating.
Our specialist Prenuptial Solicitors
A Pre-nuptial agreement is an agreement which is entered into before marriage, which details how assets will be divided if the marriage breaks down. Naturally people getting married believe that they will be married for life, however today this is often not the case.
Marriage breakdown has increased significantly over the last few years due to changes in society and our work-life patterns. By signing a before marriage, both parties know exactly where they stand in relation to asset division, should the marriage dissolve in the future. It is of paramount importance that you seek sound legal advice when considering a prenuptial agreement.
Some other matters our Divorce Solicitors and Child Solicitors cover include:
- Pre-Civil Agreements
- Civil Partnership
- Judicial Separation
- Asset Disposal
- Ending Civil Partnership
- Islamic Divorce
- Jewish Divorce
- Finances Upon Divorce
- Finances in Civil Partnership
- Setting Aside Financial Order
- Asset Preservation
- Variation of Financial Order
- Enforcement of Financial Order
- Domestic Violence
- Non-molestation Order
- Occupation Order
- Nullity & Annulment
Cohabitation Laws FAQs
What legal status does a cohabitation agreement have?
A ‘common law spouse’ has no special legal status. You are either married (or in a civil partnership) or not.
The situation used to be somewhat different in Scotland but isn’t any longer (though cohabiting couples do have some basic rights if their partnership ends).
If a relationship breaks down, being a ‘common law’ wife or husband does not give you the right to claim against your ex-partner for maintenance or a share of their assets.
However, it may be possible for a parent to make a claim on behalf of a child they continue to look after.
What should a cohabitation agreement cover?
Financial issues are key to a cohabitation agreement. It should include what rights each partner has regarding property you live in, who owns other assets and who is responsible for any debts.
It’s also common to explain how expenses will be shared while you live together.
Where you have children, either jointly or with a previous partner, the cohabitation agreement should also address this.
Wouldn’t drawing up a cohabitation agreement harm our relationship?
Not if you approach it in the right way. Avoid looking at the cohabitation agreement to protect yourself if the relationship breaks down or as a lack of faith in longevity of the relationship.
Instead, use drawing up the cohabitation agreement to work through key issues in your lives together. Handled sensitively, this should strengthen your relationship.
In some relationships, one partner has the most income or assets. If the cohabitation agreement is designed solely to protect their financial position if they split up, the other partner may resent it.
On the other hand, an agreement that provides some financial protection for the less wealthy partner can increase their sense of security and happiness within the relationship.
How are cohabitation agreement disputes resolved?
It is good practice to include a dispute-resolution procedure in your cohabitation agreement.
For example, you might agree to try mediation rather than going to court.
In any case, it is almost always better to negotiate a resolution, rather than going to court where costs can become very high.
Is the legal position the same for gay and heterosexual couples?
Not always. For example:
- If you live in accommodation rented in your partner’s name, you will not usually have the right to take over the tenancy if your partner dies unless you have formed a registered civil partnership or it is specifically allowed by the tenancy agreement.
- Some private pension schemes (and other financial arrangements) will not cover same-sex couples unless they have formed a civil partnership. Employers, however, are not allowed to discriminate based on sexual orientation. If your employer offers benefits that cover unmarried partners, these must also be offered to gay couples.
Dominic Levent Solicitors cover the following areas:
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