Unmarried couples

Many people are under the false impression that cohabitation without being in a marriage or civil partnership provides them with ‘common law’ rights, but, unfortunately, this is not the case.

Unmarried couples can face problems when the relationship breaks down and there is no prior agreement on division of assets or care of the children. In addition, there is no automatic right to inherit on the death of a partner in this situation, which can cause real problems for the surviving partner in terms of financial security and home ownership.

Services for unmarried couples

We can advise you on a cohabitation agreement, which can provide financial and personal security for both partners, ensuring that in the event of death or relationship breakdown, your interests are protected. Cohabitation agreements – unlike prenuptial agreements, which can be overturned in the divorce courts – are contractually binding.


If your relationship breaks down, we can help you with sensitive, honest advice on your situation, including making separation agreements and agreeing a financial settlement between you. We can also support you if you have a dispute with your former partner over the distribution of shared property or assets.

We can help

Our Family law team can advise you on all aspects of the legal arrangements that can protect your interests when you are cohabiting, including arrangements for division of joint property, ownership of your assets and care of your children.

Our Wills team can draw up wills for both parties that ensure that your wishes are carried out after death and the surviving partner is financially and personally secure.

We strongly recommend that cohabiting couples take legal advice on protecting your interests and those of your children, if you have them.

Please contact us to arrange an initial consultation on 020 3012 1482.