It is increasingly common for couples to live together outside of marriage. Although the law is less developed than that relating to married couples, help is still available in many circumstances, including the following:
- In cases of domestic violence, injunctions can be sought to protect the injured party.
- If there is a dispute over occupation of the home, it may be possible to apply for an Occupation Order – see our page on Separation.
- If there is a dispute over ownership of the home or other assets, the courts may be able to help, but their powers are very limited compared with the powers they have on a divorce – see our page on Financial Issues.
- Disputes over children – see our page on Children.
- There are various remedies available to registered civil partners on the breakdown of their relationship – see our page on Civil Partnerships.
It is wise to consider your legal position before you start living together or while you are happily living together, rather than only in the event of things going wrong. This is especially so in the following regards:
- Specifying the ownership of property between you: It often makes sense to clarify the shares in which existing and new property is owned, and set out what will happen if you separate. We can prepare the legal documentation that sets out what is agreed between you. You should also consider making a Will (see below).
- If there are children of the relationship: Where the parents of a child are not married, then both may not necessarily have Parental Responsibility (which broadly means all the legal rights and duties which parents have in respect of their children, including the right to make decisions about their future) – see our page on Children.
We would strongly advise you to make a Will. If you die without having made a Will your estate will pass to your next of kin and not your partner. We can prepare a Will for you.
If you wish to discuss these or any other matters relating to your living together, then telephone us on 01332 293293 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange to meet one of our solicitors. We give an initial 30-minute consultation free of charge.
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