What are the rights of Unmarried Couples?
If you live with your partner but you aren’t married, it is important to understand what your legal rights are in the event of a separation.
Our specialist family solicitors can advise you on all aspects of the law including those in relation to finances, property and children.
Unmarried couples do not have the same rights as married couples, and the idea of a ‘common law wife’ or husband does not have any legal recognition in England.
Finances and Property of unmarried couples
Unmarried couples are treated as separate individuals in law, meaning that you may not have any automatic entitlement to a share of the property you live in or other assets, depending on the legal ownership of those assets.
For example, in some cases a property may be legally owned by only one party, even though the other party may be paying towards the mortgage or other costs. If this is the case then you will need a specialist family solicitor to try and negotiate a financial settlement with your partner. This may be done through direct negotiation or through Court action if required.
It will be necessary to show that you had some sort of agreement (either verbal or written) with your partner about how the assets would be divided on separation. You will also need to show financial records, such as bank statements, showing that you did in fact make a financial contribution.
Children of unmarried couples
Another area where we can help is in making arrangements for children, who they will live with and what sort of contact they will have with the other parent.
In some cases, fathers may not automatically have what is legally known as Parental Responsibility. We can advise them on this and help to obtain it through the Courts where required.