Married couples or civil partners have the right for their needs to be considered by the court following the breakdown of the relationship and as such the law provides protection for married couples to achieve a fair financial outcome. This is not necessary the case for an unmarried couple.

Currently, the law in England and Wales does not provide full financial protection for cohabiting couples. A serious problem for cohabiting couples is that one person may find they have no claim in relation to the property they may have called their home for a number of years. Another concern is whilst a couple will have a financial responsibility for their children this is not the case in terms of supporting a former long-term partner. For example, a person who has given up their career to care for a child does not currently have any claim for financial support for themselves from their former partner.

It is estimated there are approximately 3.3 million cohabitating couples in the UK meaning they are the fastest growing family set up in the UK. Resolution First for Family Law are requesting the Government recognise the rights of unmarried couples. The Law Commission highlighted a change was needed during 2007 but 10 years later the change has not happened.

Resolution are campaigning for awareness to enable families to protect themselves. Their campaign to raise awareness is in full force this week. Useful resources and information prepared by Resolution can be found here.

Until there are changes in the law an unmarried couple can seek to document their joint intentions.

It can be useful to enter into a cohabitation agreement to set out the couple’s intentions in relation to ownership of property, finances and arrangements for their children should the relationship breakdown.

It is also important for a couple who are purchasing a property jointly for both of their names to be included on the title documents and for consideration to be given to entering into a declaration of trust if they intend to own the property in unequal shares.

It is also recommended that couples record their future wishes within a Will should the unexpected happen.

We would recommend that legal advice be taken in relation to the drafting of a cohabitation agreement, declaration of trust or Will.

We have a number of specialists here within our Private Legal Services Department who can assist with the preparation of such documents. Our private family team are all members of Resolution First for Family Law.

For more information

For more information please contact Kelly Brown or Kadie Bennett.

The spread of necrotising fasciitis
The spread of necrotising fasciitis

Necrotising Fasciitis, more commonly known as the ‘flesh-eating disease’, is a significant medical condition that requires urgent treatment.

Richard Handley Inquest
Richard Handley Inquest

Many of us who have been following the unfolding Inquest, are not surprised that the Coroner found gross and significant failures on the part of those caring for him.

Recovery of fire safety costs from leaseholders
Recovery of fire safety costs from leaseholders

In all the action to remove defective cladding, leaseholders have been the elephant in the room. Whilst social landlords might have adopted a wait and see approach private landlords do not have that luxury.

Transforming Business
Transforming Business

We welcome the Labour Party’s commitment to doubling the size of the co-operative economy. We wholeheartedly support the ambition to grow this vitally important part of the economy.

Converting to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation
Converting to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation

It was first referred to in the Charities Act 2006 (which was subsequently replaced by the Charities Act 2011) but it has finally been announced that charitable companies are able to convert to a charitable incorporated organisation (“CIO”).

Impact of Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill
Impact of Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill

The Private Members Bill Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill 2017-19 now has Government support and was debated at second reading on Friday 19 January 2018.