Co-Habitation Disputes

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Co-habitation Dispute Solicitors

More and more couples in the UK are choosing to live together without getting married. In the past few years, the number of these couples has gone up by about 24.3%, reaching around 3.6 million. This also means that disagreements between couples who live together happen more often.

Co-habitation Dispute Solicitors

More and more couples in the UK are choosing to live together without getting married. In the past few years, the number of these couples has gone up by about 24.3%, reaching around 3.6 million. This also means that disagreements between couples who live together happen more often.

In the absence of a cohabitation agreement, a cohabitation solicitor can help establish and protect your legal rights, especially if you've contributed to the property or face uncertainties in a separation. 

What is cohabitation?

Cohabitation is when an unmarried couple live together. They could be in a same-sex or opposite-sex relationship.

When can cohabitation disputes happen?

Disputes can happen between cohabiting partners concerning various aspects of their shared lives. These disagreements may include uncertainties over property division, determining each partner's respective shares in the property, ensuring housing stability for one partner and their children, transitioning into separate households, seeking financial compensation for contributions made to a partner's property, and disputes concerning arrangements for children. These disagreements can include issues like custody arrangements, educational decisions, and relocation matters.

How can GloverPriest help?

Our clients find it very beneficial to engage our help in resolving cohabiting disputes. Our expert legal professionals have a vast range of experience in the law surrounding cohabitation and provide actionable and realistic guidance on issues such as property rights, financial contributions, and child arrangements.

Contact our cohabitation dispute solicitors

At GloverPriest, we provide friendly and transparent legal advice. If you would like further advice on cohabitation disputes, please don’t hesitate to speak to one of our expert family solicitors today. Complete our enquiry form.


Frequently Asked Questions

What rights do I have living in my partner's house?

Living in your partner's home doesn't automatically grant you rights to the property unless you own it or have a share. However, you may establish rights if you contribute to the deposit or mortgage payments or make a financial commitment, such as funding significant house improvements, with the understanding that you'll own a share. However, this really depends on the circumstances. The general legal position is that if you don't own the property and you split up, you generally have no right to continue living there and no right to ownership. 

Additionally, unless specified in their Will, you won't automatically inherit the property if your partner passes away.

What is a cohabiting partner entitled to?

Generally speaking, a cohabiting partner has no right to a property or finances, unless assets are owned jointly or money is held in a joint bank account. In law, we use the term “equity follows the law” which means that individuals own what is theirs by law.

For example, property deeds are just in your name or a bank account is in your sole name. This means that no one else is entitled to what someone else owns, unless married or in a civil partnership. If a cohabiting couple has children, this makes things a little more complex and the advice of a solicitor will help work out what you are entitled to. 

What does a cohabitation agreement cover?

A cohabitation agreement is a legal document designed for unmarried couples who live together. Cohabitation agreements outline arrangements for finances, property, and children in various scenarios, including during cohabitation and potential events like separation, illness, or death. 

Although it's advisable to create such an agreement before moving in together, it can be made at any time. This legal document becomes particularly important when considering factors like having children or obtaining a mortgage. Without a cohabitation agreement, individuals in cohabiting relationships may lack essential legal rights. A family law solicitor can assist in preparing and ensuring the agreement is legally binding. 

What rights do you have in a cohabitation agreement?

A cohabitation agreement can address aspects like sharing assets, accessing state pensions, and establishing next of kin rights during medical emergencies. Additionally, cohabitation agreements can facilitate the fair division of bills and other responsibilities while living together.


Is my unmarried partner entitled to half my house?

If your partner owns the house you live in, you won’t automatically get a share of it, especially if you don't have a cohabitation agreement. Just living together doesn't usually give you a legal right to part of the property. To have rights, you might need to show you've contributed to the mortgage or home improvements or prove you both intended to share, and you relied on it to your disadvantage. However, this is not always a reason to claim entitlement to a property as an unmarried partner.

Staying in the home for a long time isn't guaranteed unless your partner gives you a tenancy agreement or 'licence to occupy.' 

The idea of a 'common law marriage' doesn't have legal standing in England or Wales. If your partner owns the family home, having your name on the title deeds or proving you've acquired an interest usually determines if you're entitled to a share. It's important to seek advice early on when living with a partner who owns the house to understand your rights and protect your position.

What rights do cohabiting couples have when their partner dies?

Unless your partner has provided for you in their Will, you have no right to inherit from them. If you were financially dependent on your partner, you may be entitled to make a claim, however, you would need to consult a contentious probate solicitor to see if this is an option in your circumstances.


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Jonathan Peck

Head of Litigation

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Roxanne Speed


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