Family Law Solicitors In Essex

Cohabiting Lawyer in Waltham Abbey

It is said that love comes first, then marriage, then buying home and then children. Well the truth is, it is normally not in that order.

Things have changed dramatically over the recent years and cohabiting has become more popular with couples. There are a number of reasons for this such as the financial costs of getting married, tax implications and testing the durability of the relationship. So, couples found an alternative route of being together, which was cohabitation.  


So, what does cohabiting actually mean in law?

It means couples can live together without the formalities of being married. However, in law, the rights for a cohabiting couple are:

  • You have no automatic rights to your partner’s property on their death.
  • You have no automatic entitlement to inherit their estate, even if you have children together, unless there is a will in place.
  • You have no tax reliefs and exemptions that spouses and civil partners enjoy, including pensions.


Considering separating?

There is some help under the law in England & Wales, for example:

  • Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989 provides financial provision for cohabitants’ children under 18.
  • If you bought a property jointly then you may be able to claim your share of the property. If you find that your partner is not agreeing to sell the property, you can apply to the court for an order to sell under The Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (known as TOLATA).
  • It may be possible to establish a claim if one partner has contributed significant amounts towards the home, such as towards the mortgage or renovations.
  • If one partner can prove that they were financially dependent on the other during their relationship, it may be possible to make a claim under the Provision for Family and Dependants Act 1975.

If you are considering separating from your partner and you are worried about what your legal rights are such as your entitlement to a share of property or custody of your children, we strongly recommend that you get in touch to arrange a free 30-minute consultation with one of our specialist solicitors before making a final decision.

We like to encourage both partners to work amicably and aim to resolve matters through mediation or collaboration.

However, where a sterner approach is required, we will discuss and explain the options that are available to you. It is essential that you understand the court procedure thoroughly before you apply to the court. At Kayson Solicitors, we understand how important it is to be as transparent as possible with our clients to ensure that you understand what to expect and to ensure that you are making the right decision.


Is there a way to improve my legal position?

One piece of advice we can give you is to ensure that you secure your legal position by entering into a cohabitation agreement.

What is a cohabitation agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is a legal agreement reached between a couple who have chosen to live together. Cohabitation agreements are to protect unmarried couples that do not have the same legal rights as married couples. The agreement is a legally binding contract meaning that if your partner was in breach of the agreement, you could take legal action against him/her. The cohabitation agreement sets out a couple’s intentions, clarifying how much each partner pays towards the children, rent/mortgage, bills during the relationship and if the relationship comes an end. We would also advise you to make a will and always keep it up-to-date, especially when your circumstances change.  

We understand that it can be difficult to suggest drafting and entering into a cohabitation agreement to your partner, especially when are or considering separation and its consequences are the last things on both parties’ minds. However, in the event that the relationship does break down, having this agreement in place protects you and your children’s interests and can avoid lengthy and expensive legal proceedings.


Future Rights of Cohabiting Couples

Cohabitation Rights Bill 2019

In March 2019, Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames, introduced the Cohabitation Rights Bill to the House of Lords. The Bill looked to protect cohabiting couples of either the same sex or the opposite sex, who have lived together for three years or more and to make provisions about the property of the deceased persons.

On Thursday 13 February 2020, the Cohabitation Rights Bill had its first reading in the House of Lords


Get in touch

With a wealth of experience in cohabitation agreements and separation our team is here to help you understand your legal rights and help you achieve your favoured outcome without compromise.

Please note that you do not have to attend our offices and we can take your instructions by email, phone or Zoom video call conferencing. Please email or phone us on 0203 876 7136.