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> Experience > Our practices > Divorce and family lawyers > Cohabitation and living together

Cohabitation and living together

Couples who live together without marrying do not enjoy the same legal protection as those who do. We can help you to avoid complications should the relationship break down, by drafting cohabitation agreements and guiding you through the separation process.

In recent years, couples living together without getting married have formed the UK's fastest-growing family-type. Yet in contrast to their married counterparts, cohabiting couples still do not benefit from statutory rights when their relationship breaks down.

Any claims have to be determined by reference to complex and esoteric principles of trust and property law, unless there are children, in which case the couple may have limited financial claims on behalf of their dependents. We have considerable experience in this area. 
Pending reform (which is not high on the political agenda), if you are not getting married but intend to live together, it is a good idea to make a cohabitation agreement before you move in. As with a prenup, this process helps you think through potential future scenarios around how to sort things out if the relationship breaks down. This is particularly important if the property in which you live or are about to acquire is intended to be owned in unequal shares – a common situation where one party is making a much greater contribution (sometimes with financial assistance from parents/grandparents).

If the relationship does break down, we will guide you through what can be a complicated process. We advise on disputes over property ownership after separation, as well as financial claims which are often brought by one parent on behalf of children for housing and maintenance. Where necessary we will bring in our wealth planning, trust and property colleagues to help resolve tax issues and to assist in setting up appropriate structures for you and your children.

We will work quickly with you to establish the best means of resolving the dispute and will draw on the skills of our leading mediators, arbitrators and collaborative lawyers to help you avoid having to go to court, if this is best for you.

Cohabitation - Get informed and get protected

If you are not married or in a civil partnership, your future security could be at risk if your relationship falters.

Michael Gouriet and Joanna Lazarus explain the issues and what you can do to protect yourself.

#ModernFamilies

Our team

Claire Blakemore

Claire Blakemore

Partner | London

Claire Blakemore

Partner | London

Divorce and family

Adele Pledger

Adele Pledger

Partner | London

Adele Pledger

Partner | London

Divorce and family

Brett A. Frankle

Brett A. Frankle

Partner | London

Brett A. Frankle

Partner | London

Divorce and family

Julian Lipson

Julian Lipson

Consultant | London

Julian Lipson

Consultant | London

Divorce and family

Alexander Breedon

Alexander Breedon

Senior associate | London

Alexander Breedon

Senior associate | London

Divorce and family

Joanna Lazarus

Joanna Lazarus

Senior associate | London

Joanna Lazarus

Senior associate | London

Divorce and family

Harriet Barber

Harriet Barber

Senior Associate | London

Harriet Barber

Senior Associate | London

Divorce and family

Jemma Thomas

Jemma Thomas

Senior Knowledge Lawyer | London

Jemma Thomas

Senior Knowledge Lawyer | London

Divorce and family

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