• The number of cohabiting couples in the UK is rising fast. But many do not realise that living together does not give you the same rights as married couples.

    Our cohabitation solicitors can advise you on your situation and how to protect yourselves if the relationship breaks down in the future.

    The ‘common law marriage’ myth

    Many people believe that living together for a significant period of time automatically grants you the same rights as a couple who are married or in a civil partnership.

    But this is not currently the case. Although reforms have been proposed in the past, none have yet been made into law in England and Wales.

    Cohabiting couples do not have an automatic right to each other’s assets, even if there are children in the family.

    In some cases you may have acquired what’s known as ‘beneficial ownership’ of a property. But this can be difficult to prove without any formal documentation.

    If you are financially dependent on your cohabiting partner, a relationship breakdown or the death of your partner can leave you in a vulnerable position.

    Cohabitation agreements and advice

    Our experienced solicitors can give you specialist legal advice on your situation, at any stage in your relationship.

    We recommend that couples who are moving in together, or already living together, draw up a cohabitation agreement. This is a legally-binding document that sets out how you will divide assets and property if you separate in the future.

    Although it may not seem very romantic, a properly drafted agreement will ensure that you and your family are protected. It can also help to avoid additional conflict and stress during a relationship breakdown.

    Cohabitation disputes

    If your relationship has ended and you are in dispute about property and assets with your former partner, we can advise you on where you stand.

    Members of our team are trained mediators and can provide mediation and collaborative law services to help you reach an agreement.

    Where needed, our specialist dispute resolution lawyers work in partnership with our family law team to support you.

    Other support for cohabiting couples

    We also recommend that cohabiting couples draw up a Will, particularly if you have children together.

    Our Wills and probate team can help you prepare a Will or advise you on what to do if your partner has died intestate (without making a Will).

    If you later decide to get married, our family lawyers can also help you to draw up a prenuptial or post nuptial agreement. This can be very helpful to avoid disputes if you later separate.

    How to contact our cohabitation solicitors

    Our cohabitation solicitors are based in Maidstone and Canterbury and are ready to help you with any advice you need.

    If you need guidance about your options, speak to one of our friendly team. You can call us on 01622 690691 or book a free 15-minute virtual appointment.

    If you’re ready to take the next step, you can book a fixed-fee initial consultation or use our no-obligation online tool to get started at a time that suits you.

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Meet the Team:

  • Superb family law practice tackling substantial matrimonial finance cases, providing expertise on complex commercial, agricultural and trust structures. Possesses further expertise in handling complex Children Act matters.

    Chambers & Partners
  • Personable, engaging, warm, professional and knowledgeable. Above all, communication skills which put a client at ease, whilst empowering them to make their own decisions.

    The Legal 500 2022
  • The team at Brachers is exceptionally strong across the board. The team is made up of solicitors that are exceptional in their own right and come together to form a formidable team. The firm is highly professional and polished

    The Legal 500 2022
  • Brachers is a leading family law specialist firm that dominates the Kent area. The strength and depth of the team sets them apart from their competitors and they consistently provide legal service of the highest quality for their clients

    The Legal 500 2022
  • Wellorganised and proactive.

    Chambers & Partners 2022
  • They are very efficient and get things done.

    Chambers & Partners 2022