Cohabitation & Unmarried Couples

Cohabitation Lawyers

When cohabitees separate they potentially face the same painful experiences that a married couple face. The same difficult issues can also be faced by those not in a relationship but with a shared or joint interest in a property. Our cohabitation lawyers can advise you in resolving these issues.

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  • “Osbornes has incredible strength in depth across every area of family law. Areas of expertise include unravelling complicated trusts and handling pre-acquired wealth, to Children Act proceedings and advising on the financial provision for children.”

  • “Osbornes Law offers affluent clients representation in high-value, complex family matters.”

Our cohabitation lawyers are Resolution accredited

Cohabiting couples have very often built up a life together over a long period of time. Therefore, there will be various issues to address during a separation. Broadly speaking, these issues may concern any children, financial provisions for the children and the redistribution of finances and any assets between the individuals themselves.

Concerning financial disputes, if children are involved, the Courts will look first to the child’s best interests, needs, and carers. Often this can result in a property transfer to a carer until a child reaches the age of 18 or ceases full-time education, with the property then being sold and the proceeds divided between the two former cohabitees. The financial positions of the parents and their child’s financial needs will be important considerations.

Regarding the ownership of and interest in property where cohabitees or former cohabitees are not married, the Court looks at the laws of Land and Trust. The same is true of joint owners of property who were not in a relationship. The Court would look to the common joint intention of ownership of the property was, often determined by whose name the property is in. Still, factors such as agreements, financial contributions towards the property or the general circumstances can also show what the common intention was to be.

To enable our cohabitation lawyers to advise you on your position, it would be helpful if you would provide us with the following information and documents:-

  • Details of the ownership of any land or assets owned.
  • Discussions that took place before and after the purchase
  • Any written or verbal agreements
  • Details as to who paid the deposit.
  • Full details of who paid the mortgage payments.
  • Details of any additional contribution made by you, for example, towards the property, e.g. funding or renovating the property.
  • Details of the solicitors who acted in the purchase of any such property.
  • If you are renting a property, whether it is rented from the council or a private landlord, the amount of rent paid each week, and whether the rental agreement is in your sole name, joint name or the name of your cohabitee.

There are no laws for cohabitees to receive shares of pensions, lump sum payments or maintenance from their former partners except where the lump sums or maintenance are for the benefit of a child.

If you are involved in a dispute with a former partner to whom you were not married, then one of our family team can help you resolve these issues. Both Andrew Watson and Lisa Pepper are Resolution accredited specialists in Cohabitation Law.

Cohabitation FAQs

When would you sever a joint tenancy?

Severing a joint tenancy is common when people who have bought property together separate. It helps resolve disputes about how much money you should receive if you sell the property.

What is a cohabitation agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is a document between two people who live together as a couple which sets out your intentions and agreement regarding your finances.

What happens when civil partners separate?

If a civil partnership breaks down, you must apply for a dissolution, equivalent to a divorce. If children are involved legal representation can ensure the appropriate arrangements are made.

Speak to a Cohabitation Solicitor Today

For a free initial conversation call 020 7485 8811

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    • Osbornes is vastly experienced and able to think around the issues and consider them in a new and refreshing way

      Chambers UK 2024

    • Osbornes is a really good team that gives a first-class service which is both sensible and insightful but also supportive of the client's needs.

      Chambers UK 2024

    • Osbornes Law offers affluent clients representation in high-value, complex family matters.

      Chambers UK 2024

    • They are uniquely placed to cater for every avenue of family legal difficulty, whether financial or children.

      Legal 500 2024

    • Osbornes has one of the strongest family law teams in the business with a very wide range of experience and seniority

      Legal 500 2024

    • Osbornes has incredible strength in depth across every area of family law, from public law children and child abduction proceedings, through to adoption and surrogacy, and private client work.

      Legal 500 2024

    • Areas of expertise for the group span from unravelling complicated trusts and handling pre-acquired wealth, to Children Act proceedings and advising on the financial provision for children

      Legal 500 2024

    • "Osbornes have been a sound firm forever. They have phenomenal work."

      CHAMBERS UK 2023

    • "They provide excellent advice and service to clients."

      CHAMBERS 2023

    • "Osbornes Law have a very broad family practice which does all areas of family law at a high level. They have an excellent practice; they are top quality across the board."

      CHAMBERS UK 2023

    • "Osbornes offers a unique service of high quality advice and representation across a wide range of areas of law."

      Legal 500 2023

    • "The team are all eminently approachable and down to earth, committed, hardworking and who support their clients in a very effective, pragmatic way."

      Legal 500 2023

    • "Osbornes offers an excellent family law service spanning the wide range of disputes that may arise, in relation both to children and finances."

      Legal 500 2023

    • "A family team that is able to offer the highest level of expertise across the family law spectrum from high-net-worth finances through to care proceedings and children matters."

      Legal 500 2023

    • "Mark Freedman is intelligent and personable and has a good selection of high-net work cases".

      Chambers UK

    • "It has a strong and experienced team of solicitors who don’t take bad points, work sensibly to get a settlement and who you can always pick up the phone and speak to. They are good lawyers and know the strengths and weaknesses of their clients’ cases. They don’t posture and always pursue their clients cases appropriately. "

      Legal 500 2021

    • Mark Freedman frequently takes on high-value financial and children proceedings that involve complex tax, trust and accounting issues. Sources praise the "tenacity and common sense" he brings to challenging disputes.

      Chambers UK

    • "Mark is very experienced, competent, good with clients and takes a sensible approach to cases. He knows exactly what he's doing."

      Chambers & Partners Directory 2020, Mark Freedman

    • "Naomi Angell is a highly esteemed practitioner who is highlighted as "a leader in the field" and "extremely knowledgeable" by interviewees. She is particularly recognised for her experience in complex adoption disputes."

      Chambers UK

    • [The Family Law department] handles significant matrimonial finance cases and complex nuptial agreements. Respected for its expertise in cross-border children law matters.

      Chambers UK

    • This team is perhaps best known for its children work, often involving complex international dynamics.

      Chambers UK

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