Cohabitation & Prenuptials

Couples Who Live Together – advice from our Cohabitation Solicitors

Speak to an expert Prenup Solicitor before cohabiting!

Before beginning to live together outside of marriage or a registered civil partnership we would urge you to take legal advice from our Cohabitation Solicitors especially if:

  1. The property you are to live in is registered in your partner’s sole name.
  2. You have contributed unequally to the price of the property.
  3. You have children.

This is because the consequence of relationship breakdown can be unexpected and seem unfair if you are not clear as to your legal rights before you enter the relationship.

However long you live together in a relationship with a partner does not change the nature of that legal relationship. The law that applies if you separate after a period of living together is the same law whether you have been living together for three months or thirty years, therefore it is prudent to speak to a Cohabitation Solicitor before making the step to live together.

The common law of property and trusts applies to property rights between couples who choose not to marry or register their relationship. On separation, a partner will only recover what they already own. There is no power to readjust shares as on divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership. There are no duties to maintain the other partner.

Property and trust law is complex. You will require legal advice from one of our specialist Cohabitation Solicitors. The quality of evidence in such cases is important if a non owning partner is going to establish a share in property which has not been agreed at the beginning of the relationship. If you have children, the Children Act 1989 does provide that financial claims may be made on behalf of children to secure accommodation, lump sums or additional maintenance. It may be appropriate to take such action, especially where the parent caring for the children has few property rights of his or her own.

The legal procedures for property claims and Children Act claims are different and two sets of court actions may be required, which are then run concurrently. Litigation of any sort is expensive and our Cohabitation Solicitors will always keep costs proportionate to the likely benefits. As with married couples, mediation, collaborative law and joint meetings are useful alternatives to court action and may well be more cost effective. However the best advice is to speak to a Prenup Solicitor before advancing to living together.

Contact Williscoft and Co to speak to one of our Cohabitation Solicitors in Bradford on 01274 305380, one of our Keighley Solicitors on 01535 600973 or email us.

Contracted with the Legal Aid Agency. Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Reg.No. 67202.

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