Cohabitation is more common in the UK than marriage, yet the law relating to couples who cohabit is more complex and has not kept up with modern relationships. It is therefore very important that if you are considering living together, that you know your rights. The outcome if you separate may be very different to what you expect and the cost of pursuing cases to court is expensive, protracted and uncertain. In addition, you could end up paying the other persons costs if you are unsuccessful.
So what are your rights if you live together? The majority of law relating to couples who live together is governed by old property trust law. There has over the last decade been various attempts by Government and then legal community to bring about change for couples who cohabit. However, none have been successful in simplifying the legal rights for cohabitees.
Due to the complex nature of the law in this area, we recommend our client’s consider setting out their intentions before they start to cohabit. Whether you are considering moving in with someone, or buying a house together, it is important that at the outset you set out your plans regarding your cohabitation and what to expect should you separate.
We understand your needs and concerns and so for example, you may need advice on:
All of these questions are common and understandable. However, if you do not define at the outset, what is to happen if the property is sold, the legal outcome if you separate could be far different from what you thought would be the case. What you may not know is that, if you buy a house together and you put in unequal contributions to the purchase price, unless you set out who gets what from the sale proceeds, the law would presume that you owned the property in equal shares. As a result any deposit provided from your savings or a gift from a parent would be shared with your former partner and given the restrictive nature of the law, you would be unlikely to recover the money if you took your former partner to court.
There are also a lot of other misconceptions surrounding rights of cohabitee’s, for example, if you move into your partner’s home and pay for lavish decoration, unless you undertake significant renovations like installing new kitchen or bathroom, you are unlikely to establish an interest in the property.
This is also the case even if you pay half the mortgage, it does not automatically mean that you will establish an interest in the property, no matter how long you have lived together. There is no such thing as a common law wife or husband. You may own your own home and want to protect it from a new partner, unless you enter into an agreement about your individual rights over the property, you cannot be sure your interest will be protected.
Our solicitors are used to negotiating the difficulties which stem from the breakdown of a cohabiting relationship. We know what issues arise and are experienced in drafting agreements which clearly set out what will happen when a couple separates, lessening the worry and allowing the couple to enjoy living together, without uncertainty.
Please click on any of the links below to see our client’s testimonials.
"Alison Gaddes has handled my divorce efficiently and professionally whilst being sensitive to what has been a difficult time for me. She has explained all aspects of the legalities and kept me fully updated on the developments of my case at all times. I would have no hesitation in recommending her to anyone seeking legal representation."
"I would strongly recommend Lindsey Canning and her entire team in Wake Smith . Lindsey had been my solicitor handling my divorce and financial settlement case. Right from start I found her very professional and knowledgeable. She worked with me constantly to ensure I was happy with the service and advice being given to me. She is very experienced and provided valuable legal advice while focusing on keeping costs down as much possible and this is something I really appreciated from Lindsey Canning. I thank the team and Lindsey and wish them best of luck."
"I would have no hesitation in recommending Lindsey Canning and her team, including Victoria Walker regarding family law issues. Professional, friendly and efficient."
"Lindsey Canning handled my divorce right through from initial consultation to final hearing. Lindsey was quite literally a rock for me throughout proceedings which eventually ran to 2 years, She was professional, efficient and determined throughout to get the best result for me and my complex case. If it was not for Lindsey’s patient and understanding manner I dread to think where the case could have ended up and I would not hesitate to recommend. Throughout a very difficult time Lindsey supported me, kept me informed throughout and was very realistic about possible outcomes in my case. Lindsey kept a calm and pragmatic manner at all times and is a great listener. I can’t thank her enough for her efforts and support throughout the last 2 years I would not be in the financial position I am now without her." I will continue to use Wake Smith for any of my legal needs and that’s all down to Lindsey Canning.
"Thank you for all your help and advice, divorce is always unpleasant but I must admit that with you and your team on my side everything went as smoothly as possible. If any of my friends are unlucky enough to find themselves in my situation I wouldn't hesitate to give them your number. All the best and thank you again."
"I do not say this lightly, but you are consistently excellent! You have put my mind greatly at rest. Your service remains outstanding, thank you (again!)"
These articles provide useful and updated information on different sectors of the legal industry.
Sign up for our free monthly e-newsletter. Please register your details below to receive the latest legal news and developments.
We will not share your details with any third party organisations.
Get expert legal advice from one of Sheffield’s most respected law firms, Wake Smith Solicitors.
Our team of friendly, professional solicitors in Sheffield can provide support and advice in a wide range of areas for you and your business. Call our Solicitors in Sheffield on 0114 266 6660 or fill out the simple form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
For all media enquiries, please contact Abby Worsnip or Billy Greenhalgh at www.agentpr.co.uk.
Important – Please read our privacy notice for more information on how we use your data.
Please enter your first name.
Please enter your surname.
Please enter your address.
Please enter your contact telephone number.
Please enter your e-mail address.
Please enter a valid e-mail address.
Please enter what method you wish to be contacted via.
Please select what practice area you are interested in.
Please enter your enquiry.
Please check the box to confirm you are not a robot.
The form has been successfully submited. Thank you for your enquiry.
Monday to Friday
8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
DX: 10534 Sheffield 1
There is a large public carpark operated by Q-Park underneath our office building, the entrance to which is located on Solly St.
If you have any special requirements relating to accessibility or disabled facilities please contact John Liversidge on 0114 224 2075 or at firstname.lastname@example.org