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When it comes to cohabitation, we understand that the legal aspects can be complex and sometimes daunting. Whether you’re moving in together, buying property, or have concerns about financial and legal matters, our experienced solicitors will help you understand your rights and responsibilities. We’re committed to making this transition as smooth and secure as possible.
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Please note that we cannot offer Legal aid.
Our solicitors are well-equipped to assist you with various legal matters, such as financial orders, non-molestation orders, child arrangements, Schedule 1 applications, and TOLATA applications concerning property claims.
It’s a common misconception that the legal statuses of married and unmarried cohabiting couples are nearly the same. In reality, there are significant legal differences. Understanding your specific legal status becomes crucial when property and separation issues surface in your relationship.
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Cohabitation means an unmarried couple living together in a rented or owned home. Couples do this for various reasons, like saving money or getting to know each other better. Cohabitation has pros and cons, just like marriage. Many couples try living together before marriage to see if they’re a good fit and can share responsibilities.
But before moving in, it’s crucial to discuss legal matters with your partner. This helps prevent future disputes and safeguards your assets and interests, even though it might not be an easy conversation to have.
The myths surrounding “Common Law Marriage”
Many couples believe that if they have been cohabiting for a number of years without getting married, they will still have the same legal rights as a married couple. This is known as ‘common law marriage’, and while the idea might seem appealing to some couples, common law marriage has absolutely no legal standing and is not usually recognised by any court.
In fact, in the eyes of the law, an unmarried couple is seen as just that: therefore, there is no automatic right to home ownership or assets should the couple separate or one party pass away, regardless of how long they have been cohabiting. This is another reason why cohabitation agreements are a vital part of moving in together.
Unmarried cohabiting couples have rights and responsibilities, although not the same as married couples.
Property: If a property is rented, only the named tenant on the agreement can live there. If your partner isn’t on the agreement, you need the landlord’s permission for them to stay. If a property is bought in one partner’s name, that partner can sell it without the other’s consent unless the other proves their interest or applies to the court due to child welfare. To protect your property rights, consider buying jointly.
Possessions & Finances: Unmarried couples aren’t legally obliged to financially support each other. Your assets and income are separate unless you specify otherwise. If you share debts and your partner doesn’t pay, you could still be pursued. Benefits are assessed based on your household income, which might affect what you can claim.
Children: Unmarried birth mothers automatically have full parental responsibility. The partner can gain it by being named on the birth certificate, signing a Parental Responsibility Agreement, getting a court order, or getting married. To avoid child-related disputes, consider a cohabitation agreement before moving in to clarify your partner’s legal position regarding the children.
Our forward-thinking fixed-fee billing system offers you peace of mind by basing your quote on the intricacies of your case, rather than the hours expended. This quote is agreed upon in advance.
Perduco Law can help you to establish your potential rights and entitlements to property, and also guide you through the full legal process of your applications to the court. Where your entitlements to property are not automatically granted by law, it is important to establish your claims in the court.
Contact us today to find out how we can help.