Many people now choose to live together (or 'cohabit') without getting married. When such relationships break down, there are often various issues that need to be resolved.
Our team of highly personable solicitors here at Cozens-Hardy is able to help you make sense of the situation.
The most common areas of dispute involve the couple's home (and what should happen to it) and disputes concerning any children from the relationship. Currently, the law states that no matter how long you live together, you will never have the same financial rights as married couples. The idea of a ‘common law husband' or a ‘common law wife' having specific legal rights is a myth. There is no specific law concerning the financial position for cohabiting couples...
If the couple jointly owns a property, then the property deeds should state the shares in which the property is owned.
If the property is owned in one person's sole name then, in some circumstances, the non-owner can pursue a court claim to claim a share of the property. However, this is a very specialist and difficult area of law - and you would need to take full legal advice.
Unfortunately, unless there is a specific agreement between the couple, cohabitees generally do not have any rights to any other financial assets such as income, savings, investments or pensions that married persons may have.
With regard to disputes over any children, the law relating to unmarried couples is little different to the law relating to married couples (see our Divorce & Separation Fact Sheet).