Unmarried Couples

Contrary to popular opinion there is no such thing as a 'common law' husband or wife.

Unmarried couples have different legal rights and responsibilities in relation to property, finances and children to married couples. It makes no difference how long you have been living together.

During a divorce various financial claims can be made against the other party. It does not matter for example if one party owns property and the other does not. Unmarried couples do not enjoy the same rights. If you separate there is very little legal protection for you. The laws that apply to married couples do not apply to you.

The Courts only consider actual contributions made and the intentions of the parties.

On separation, an unmarried person retains their own income, capital, property and pension rights unless the other party can prove they agreed to share these. It is not possible to claim for maintenance, lump sums or pension rights.

If your partner were to die you would not automatically inherit their estate.

If you die your partner may have a claim against your estate if they do not receive what is viewed as reasonable financial provision from your estate.

Unmarried fathers do not have automatically have parental responsibility for their children.

For separating couples

If you are separating we can advise on all the legal implications to include finances and children. We offer initial free advice to discuss your options and to consider the way forward.

For couples setting up home together

If you are thinking of setting up home together and are concerned about your rights, we can discuss these with you. You may wish to enter into a co-habitation or living together agreement. For more details please see 'Setting Up Home Together'.