Unmarried Couples – Separation

There is no such thing as a “common law” marriage in the UK and cohabitants have very few rights that arise out of the relationship.

At JC Solicitors we can assist you with the legalities and practicalities that an unmarried couple may have to face if their relationship breaks down, in particular in relation to their financial assets. We can advise on the preventative measure you can take whilst still in a relationship (see our Unmarried Couples – Cohabitation and Cohabitation Agreements page) and also deals with what might happen upon the breakdown of a relationship between an unmarried couple.

If you are living with someone without being married to them, you may think you have similar rights to married couples, but the law relating to unmarried couples is complex and considers financial matters differently upon the breakdown of the relationship.

There is no such thing as “common law” marriage in the UK. The courts have to deal with legal proceedings in a very different way for unmarried couples who are in dispute over their financial assets. Unmarried couples have to be aware:

  • · There is no obligation for your ex-partner to pay maintenance to you (for your own benefit). If there are children involved then maintenance will still have to be paid for them.
  • · If you rent your home and tenancy is in your ex-partner’s sole name, there is no automatic right for you to stay there.
  • · If your ex-partner owns their own home, and there is no other agreement in place to say otherwise, there is no automatic right for you to stay there.
  • · If your ex-partner dies without leaving a Will, you will not automatically inherit anything from their estate, including the family home, if it is in their name or if you own it jointly as “tenants in common”.

How much will it cost for legal assistance relating to unmarried couples?

If you are looking for advice or assistance if your relationship breaks down as an unmarried couple or where a dispute has arisen, we offer a free initial telephone consultation with no obligation. During this meeting we will discuss our services and where possible, provide a fee estimate so that you know what your costs will be from the outset. We will not be able to provide detailed legal advice in our initial telephone consultation due to the complexity of this area of law.

Click here to arrange your free initial consultation or call our Alton office on 01420 544 273 or our Chichester office on 01243 850 860.