It is becoming increasingly common for couples to live together without marrying. The financial rights and obligations of a couple who have lived together are very different from those of a married couple. There is no such thing as common-law marriage, and this comes as a shock to many people.

Over half the population mistakenly believes cohabitants do have firm, legal rights and many find themselves in a vulnerable position when their relationships end. Often, the legal implications on separation concerning various matters, including rights to a property, are not contemplated and this can lead to a risk of future litigation.

Sears Tooth are experts in helping unmarried couples regulate their financial living arrangements in respect of their current cohabitation and if it comes to an end. We can offer legal advice on whether or not you should consider protecting such financial arrangements. This can be either before embarking upon the commitment of living together, or, if you are facing a relationship breakdown and need to know where you stand. We are experts in the field and will be able to advise on your options.

Please get in touch with us so that you can be confident of your decision-making in relation to any future financial implications encountered on relationship breakdown.

Typical situations we can assist with include:

Mothers who have had children following a relationship with a wealthy father but have very limited savings or income and never lived together or only briefly.

The likely outcome will be along the lines of a home purchased for the mother for her and child to live in until the child finishes university education. In addition, ancillary orders are often made for the provision of child care, a car, furniture fund and maintenance for the child and the mother as the child’s carer. In such circumstances the father will invariably be ordered to fund the mother’s legal fees. Claims are made under the Schedule I of the Children Act.

Unmarried couples where one person maintains that they agreed to share an asset and they can show that they contributed to the purchase or /and improved the property or otherwise acted to their detriment in reliance of the agreement.

The outcome in these cases generally depend on the parties intentions at the time the agreement was made. These cases are time consuming and can be difficult to prove. Claims are made under the Trust of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act [TOLATA].

Couples who have lived together for longer periods of time and one person is much more financially secure than the other and who have a family home, assets and children together.

For such clients we will often bring concurrent and overlapping claims under Schedule I of the Children Act and the Trust of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act with a view to achieving the best possible outcome for our clients.

The situations set out above are just examples. Please contact us for a confidential appointment.