Skip to main content

Couples are increasingly choosing to live together without marrying. However, there is a common misunderstanding that a couple who have been together for a period of time have established a ‘common law marriage’. In fact, these relationships have no legal definition and, should the relationship come to an end, one of the partners could be left in a vulnerable position financially.

The law relating to those who are unmarried but who have lived together is complex and you will need advice if you separate.

We provide expert advice in areas such as:

  • Whether or not you can claim an interest in a property which is in your partner's name.
  • The extent of your interest in any jointly owned property.
  • Whether you are entitled to any financial provision for your children.

We can provide the advice you need, whether you are starting out together and want to avoid any possible arguments in the future, or you are investing more money or property, into the relationship than your partner. You need to make sure your assets are protected. We can also advise you on the use of cohabitation agreements and help negotiate a suitable agreement for you.

Research tells us that arrangements agreed between the parties are much more likely to succeed if they are made by consent. However, where one parent does not agree to those arrangements you may need to try mediation, arbitration or ultimately court proceedings to help you sort these arrangements.

TOLATA stands for Trust of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 and this is the law that governs property disputes, usually between cohabiting couples but can be used in a variety of different proceedings and set of circumstances.

This is a document that is legally binding and usually sets out how legal owners of a property shall own the shares in that property.

Joint Tenants is one way of how two people can own a property together and it means that they own all of the property between them.

Tenants in Common is another way of how two or more people can own a property together and it will define what proportion of the property that they own.