What rights do cohabiting partners have?

As a cohabiting couple, you do not have the same rights as if you were married. In fact, you have limited rights as cohabitating partners. For instance, if one partner owns property, the other will not usually have rights to the property. In relation to children, the father will not automatically have parental responsibility if they are not married to the mother. Also, there are no tax benefits for cohabiting partners.

Although cohabitation is very common now, those living together unmarried have next to no legal rights or protections. We will go into these points in more detail here.

What rights do cohabiting partners have with property?

If you rent a home and both names are on the tenancy agreement, then you are responsible for paying the rent and bills and adhering to other contractual obligations as tenants. If you separate and one person moves out, then the tenancy agreement must change. Similarly, if you own property together, you both have legal obligations to pay the mortgage and can split the sale proceeds if you break up. 

On the other hand, when one person owns the property and the other is just living there with no legal rights, there are limited actions that can be taken upon separation. If the other person contributed to the mortgage payments, home improvements, or deposit, then they may be able to prove that they are entitled to some share in the property. But it must be clear that direct financial contributions were made for the property with the assumption that the other partner has some interest in the property.

Upon divorce, the court may be able to decide if a spouse whose name is not on the title deeds of a property is entitled to a share in the home. It may also be decided that the spouse can continue living there if it is in the best interests of the children for instance. 

What rights do cohabiting partners have with children?

If you have children as cohabiting partners unless the father’s name is on the birth certificate, they have no parental responsibility for the children. This means that they may not have a legal say in the child’s upbringing, education, medical needs, or best interests. However, on separation, the father will still need to make child support payments regardless of whether he has parental responsibility or not.

In comparison, with married couples, both parents will have parental responsibility and will be able to have a say about child arrangements upon divorce. 

What rights do cohabiting partners have if one dies?
The other partner does not automatically inherit the deceased’s estate with cohabiting couples, unlike marriages. Instead, the deceased’s Will will be looked at to establish how they wanted their assets to be distributed.

What rights do cohabiting partners have with pensions?

Unless the other partner is named as the nominated beneficiary, cohabiting couples cannot claim a right to the other’s pension.

How can GloverPriest help?

At GloverPriest, we specialise in helping families and cohabiting partners. For friendly and transparent advice, speak to one of our expert family lawyers today. Complete our enquiry form. 

Contact Us

At GloverPriest, we understand navigating the law can be a difficult task to take on alone. That’s why we created this comprehensive guide to help promote information for everyone to use.

If you’re looking to speak to a solicitor, please call us from the number below. Alternatively, you can fill out our online form and we’ll be right with you.

Phone Icon 0121 794 5814

We use cookies to improve your experience and to help us understand how you use our site. By using this site, you accept our use of cookies. Learn more x