Living together, cohabitation and unmarried couples

A wise precaution when unmarried couples live together would be to enter into a cohabitation agreement with your partner, which sets out how you would split your assets if your relationship breaks down.

Unmarried couples who wish to separate are not in the same legal position as married couples, or those in a civil partnership. Many unmarried couples still believe they have ‘common-law rights as a spouse’ or ‘common-law marriage’ exists, but there are no such terms in law.

The law is far more complicated for unmarried couples who separate than for those who are married. If you are living together as an unmarried couple and wish to separate you should seek legal advice.

Unmarried, living together and wish to separate?

If you live with somebody and the relationship breaks down, the only legal claims that you may be able to make are:-

  • In relation to your home, the Court may need to decide what your respective interests in the property are;
  • The parent with care of any children of your relationship can make an application to the Child Maintenance Service for child maintenance;
  • In some circumstances, if additional financial support is required, the Court can order the non-resident parent to pay one or more lump sums, or to transfer property, to meet specific capital requirements for children.


Why choose Furley Page if you are unmarried and need legal advice?

  • We are experienced in drafting cohabitation agreements, sometimes referred to as living together agreements or 'no nup'.
  • We can advise you at the outset of your cohabitation on how your joint and individual assets should be divided if your relationship breaks down.  Both you and your partner will need to obtain independent legal advice.
  • Cohabitees that separate often don’t know where to start, or what their rights are.  Obtaining legal advice as soon as you have separated, or when you are contemplating separation, is essential in setting you and any children of the relationship on the right path.
  • We are frequently asked to act in relation to property disputes between unmarried couples and to make applications to the Court for orders for the sale of jointly owned property.
  • Our Family Team has an unrivalled reputation of achieving excellent results for our clients.  All of the solicitors in our team are experienced in this complex area of the law.

How can we help you

Call us on

0333 331 9877

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Key Contacts

Rayma Collins

Partner & Head of Family Law

Naomi Hayward

Senior Associate & Collaborative Lawyer