SOLICITORS Specialist Family Lawyers in Ilford, London Law Society Accredited Advanced Family Panel Lawyers ARORA ASHTON PATEL
SOLICITORSSpecialist Family Lawyers in Ilford, LondonLaw Society Accredited Advanced Family Panel Lawyers ARORA ASHTON PATEL

Unmarried Couples

It is often presumed that if you live with your partner you become their ‘common law spouse’ and therefore acquire similar rights to those who are legally married. 

This is not the case.

Cohabiting couples are the fastest growing family type in the UK, yet there is very little protection for people should the relationship break down.

Whether you have lived together for 6 months or 6 years, on separation your finances will be treated in law as if you are leaving a commercial arrangement and not a marriage.

The main legal claims you may be able to make are:

  • property – the court will consider how property is legally and beneficially owned by you and your former cohabitee to decide if you are entitled to a share
  • child support – an application can be made by you to the Child Support Agency (CSA) for child maintenance and in certain circumstances for ‘top up’ through the courts
  • capital/property for any children – in some circumstances you can make a claim against the other parent requiring them to provide capital of property for the benefit of the child. Where there is provision of a home, this is usually on a trust basis.

The court does not have the power to order payment of maintenance to you for your benefit, nor can it provide for lump sum payments or share of pension to be allocated to you.

If you and/or your former partner is Scottish and one of you has remained living in Scotland, you should seek legal advice from a Scottish lawyer. In 2006 the law in Scotland changed and now gives financial rights to former cohabitees. This means you may be able to bring a more substantial claim.

We can help

If you need advice or help with your situation, please call us  today on 0208 554 6263 or email us at


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  • Our Specialisms

  • Divorce

  • Financial Settlements

  • Cohabitee Couples

  • Children/Child Arrangement Orders

  • Parental Responsibility

  • Legal Rights for Grandparents

  • Child Maintenance

  • International Family Law

  • Domestic Violence

  • Civil Partnerships

  • Financial Settlements

  • Cohabiting Couples

  • Pre- Nuptial Agreements







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