Marriage is not for everyone and many people are in relationships that do not result in marriage. Some have children, and some do not. Some jointly own property and others do not. Commonly however they are unaware or unclear on the legal status of their relationships and the rights and responsibilities they have to each other.
If you are about to commence living with another person then you should consider having a cohabitation agreement to limit the scope for dispute if the relationship later breaks down. Cohabiting couples do not acquire the legal rights and responsibilities of a married couple simply by cohabiting for a period and nor are they able to claim the same reliefs as those available to married couples when their relationship ends. There will be no claims for maintenance or pensions for example, but if you have children then you may be able to make a claim under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989 to ensure that appropriate financial provision is made for your children, including housing provision and other significant expenses. Our team of experts can lead you through the areas of law which are available to resolve your disputes on financial, property and children matters. You may be unclear as to your rights to a partner’s house. Our team can assist you in assessing the situation and to determine how and if rights to a property can be established. Where parties are unmarried the answer to this question is not always straightforward, but it can be answered. The first step is to understand who owns the property and how. There are two different ways in which you can own or have an interest in property. One is legal ownership and the other is beneficial ownership. For example, you may be joint legal owners of a property, but one party may have a greater beneficial interest because they have contributed more financially.