Living together with someone is also often called cohabitation. What are unmarried couples rights? Currently, unmarried couples in England and Wales have no statutory legal rights if they separate. However, they could have a claim under the law of trusts and equity and, if they have children, the primary carer could have a claim under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989. Although the terms common-law wife or husband are frequently used to describe a couple who live together, these relationships do not have legal recognition. Despite the Law Commission making recommendations in 2007 that the rights of cohabiting partners upon separation should be increased, nothing much has changed.
Unmarried Couples Property Rights
A cohabitation agreement for unmarried partners allows you to formalise aspects of your status with your partner by drawing up a legal agreement called a cohabitation agreement. This outlines the rights and obligations of each partner towards each other. It sets out who owns what and in what proportion and lets you document how you will split your property, its contents, personal belongings, savings and other assets should the relationship break down. It can also cover how you will support your children, over and above any legal requirements to maintain them, as well as how you would deal with bank accounts, debts, and joint purchases such as a car.
The agreement can also be used to set out how you and your partner will manage your day-to-day finances while you live together, such as how much each contributes to rent or mortgage and bills, and whether you will take out life insurance on each other.
Although they are not legally enforceable they can be useful to remind a couple of their original intentions.
The costs of drawing up such an agreement will depend on the complexity of your affairs.
At Prentice Family Law we offer an initial free telephone consultation to discuss your case and the best way forward for you, as each case is unique.
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