Tel: 01543 441 802  
Monday to Friday: 9am - 5pm 

Cohabiting couples 

Whether you are married or in a civil partnership the end of that relationship can be worrying and stressful leaving you anxious and in the dark about your finances, your home and your children. 
In a perfect world it would be great to think that couples could agree their differences and come to an amicable and fair settlement without difficulties. However, whilst we are sure that this does happen in some cases the vast majority of breakdowns in relationships require help. Whether that be help with a divorce or dissolution of civil partnership or with settlement of financial assets. 
The Law in this area is often complicated and regularly changes to reflect changes in society. 

Breakdown of relationships 

Where couples live together and have a registered beneficial interest in a property their interests are protected and determined by the how they hold their interests –either jointly or on some other proportion. These details are found on the land registry documents to a house more commonly known as the “deeds to the house” 
However for the couple where the dependant party has no registered beneficial interest at the land registry proving they have a beneficial interests in their home can be difficult. The saying “I’m his common law wife “is a misconception and holds not standing in law. 
The law surrounding cohabitation can be unfair and is long due for reform. 

What you need to know 

It is essential to understand that cohabiting couples are not treated like married couples in divorce or civil partners in dissolution of a civil partnership. The harsh reality is the breakdown of a relationship can be a financially devastating to the dependant cohabitee and children. 
There are remedies that can assist in these circumstances for dependant partners. The remedies have been fashioned by a library of case law within the complex area of trusts law. These cases tend to be costly and often give an inadequate outcome. Therefore it is important that you receive the right advice. Garfield has a personal interest in this area of law and is an avid follower of leading writers and speakers in this area 
There are of course steps you may take to avoid these disputes. 

Cohabitation Agreements 

For couples who aim to live together an agreement can be drafted that sets out each parties interest in their property and belongings and what is agreed in the event there relationship breakdown or one party dies. The agreement takes the uncertainty out of any dispute arising in the future. 
Garfield can advise you to safeguard your and your families’ interests, including how property can be held cohabitation agreements and declarations of trusts. 
To discuss your concerns please book your free confidential appointment. 

Useful information 

See our guide of how property and interests can be protected. 

Arrange your confidential appointment for FREE 

Office tel: 01543 441 802 
Opening hours: 
Monday to Friday: 9am - 5pm 
Office tel: 01543 441 802 
Mon-Fri: 9AM - 5PM 
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