Unmarried Couples

Unmarried Couple

Click here to read our Cohabitation FAQs


Although changes to the law are currently being considered, there is a very large difference in the way that finances of a relationship are dealt with depending on if you are married or unmarried.

No matter how long you have lived together, there is no legal status of common law marriage - meaning that if you are unmarried, you are classed as unmarried. 

However, if you are not married and the relationship breaks down it is still possible to make a claim for the following: 

  • Child support from your former partner;
  • A claim for you to remain in the property until your children grow up (before it is sold);
  • A claim on the property if it is in joint names (that it be sold and the proceeds shared out);
  • A claim on the property if it is in the other person's sole name in limited circumstances, e.g. if a document giving you rights was drawn or you put capital into the property on the understanding that by doing so you would have an interest in it. 
    We would need to talk to you about what whether this was discussed during the relationship and what financial contributions each of you made to the property. 
  • A claim for a lump sum to purchase property for a child of the relationship (this is usually paid back when the child grows up).

If you had have been married, it would have been possible to make additional claims, including:

  • Monthly maintenance for yourself
  • Claims on any assets in the other person's sole name, e.g. savings, pension.

For further information on Unmarried Couples or Cohabitation and to find out how we can help you, please contact our Family Law Team on 01279 755777 or get in touch with Lynn Cowley, Partner in our Family Team.

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