Cohabitation refers to a couple who are not married, but are living together in a stable relationship. In many aspects English law on cohabitation is in a long term state of change. As regards children, there may now be little difference between the rights and duties of married and unmarried parents (See our web page on Children for more information).

However, as regards property and financial matters there remain tremendous differences. The myth of the ‘Common Law Wife’ is just that, a myth. If a couple live together but choose not to marry, the court will not (as the law stands) impose on the couple a status similar to marriage.

This leaves financial and property issues to be dealt with according to property law, not divorce law. Although exceptions can be found, broadly this means that property will remain with the person to whom it belongs.

It can therefore be wise, if setting up a home with someone to whom you are not married to have a written agreement as to who owns what, and what is to happen to assets should the relationship come to an end.

When an unmarried couple separate, they need advice to deal with precisely the same issues as married couples, but the advice will be very different. Caversham Solicitors is often consulted by those married or unmarried whose relationship is faltering, and many find our legal experience coupled with our understanding of the practical and emotional problems to be of enormous assistance to them.

Regarding cohabitation we can offer advice on the following:

  • Cohabitation agreements
  • Disputes over property following the breakdown of a relationship
  • Disputes relating to children

Please contact us to arrange an appointment, ask a question or for a guide to costs. You can also email the team at Our telephone number is 0800 085 5575.

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