In addition to advising divorcing couples, we also assist those who are living together, including same sex couples.
If you are living together and your relationship ends, you must be sure of your rights.
The family team at Silverman Sherliker can advise you in relation to your legal rights and how you can ensure that your interests as a co-habitee are properly protected.
Despite social and political pressure and a Law Commission Consultation Paper, the UK law relating to co-habitees is still very different from the law that is applied to married couples.
If you are co-habiting (living together without being married) and your relationship breaks down, the only possible legal claims that you MAY have are as follows:
• possibly a claim in respect of the home – the court will need to consider how the property is legally owned between the cohabiting couple;
• Child support? – an application can be made to the Child Support Agency for child support;
• Claims for additional support for children under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989.
However, the court does NOT have the power to order payment of maintenance to a former co-habitee for themselves, nor to order the payment of lump sums, pension sharing and so forth.
If the property in question is owned by one person only, complex legal arguments may arise if the other co-habitee wishes to establish a legal interest.
COHABITATION AND THE NEED TO MAKE A WILL
More of the population are choosing to live together as unmarried couples. The ‘safety net’ that the law provides for married couples is however not automatically provided to unmarried couples.
As such it is important to recognise as a ‘co-habitee’ that your partner could end up with nothing in the event of your untimely death unless you make a Will.
Unmarried partners, and the children they care for, will not necessarily inherit from each other, unless there is a Will.