Property Claims For Unmarried Couples

CORONAVIRUS / COVID-19: We are continuing to provide a full service. We offer remote meetings by telephone or video conferencing software such as Zoom, Skype and Facetime if required.

Do you need an experienced Solicitor who can advise on property claims for unmarried couples?

It has become increasingly common for couples to remain unmarried for longer, prioritising other things like home ownership and raising children over the hassle and expense of a wedding. Unfortunately, the law has yet to catch up with this trend away from marriage.

If you are in an unmarried relationship and decide to separate, you may be surprised to find that you do not have the same rights as you would if you and your partner were married.

There is no such thing as a “common law marriage”, so without a cohabitation agreement it can be unclear exactly what you are entitled to should your relationship break down. If you are going through a separation, getting the help of an experienced Family Law Solicitor is essential. Our Family Law team have helped countless individuals both married and unmarried negotiate the end of their relationship.

Your Property

If you are cohabiting as a couple and your relationship breaks down, there is unfortunately no clear-cut legal position for what happens to your property. Typically, if you have moved into a property owned by your partner, the owner will retain their control over the property and you will have to move out. In some cases, it can be possible to argue that you have contributed financially to the property; for example, by paying part of the mortgage or contributing to renovations.

If you and your partner have jointly purchased a property, the situation can be similarly unclear. While typically each party would be entitled to an equal share of the property if it is sold, this is not always the case. Intention is often factored into deciding who gets what – so if you purchase a new property and begin paying for that, you may be entitled to a smaller share of your old property, since it is clear you no longer intend to jointly own it.

There is also the matter of what happens to the property prior to selling, or if it is sold at all. If you have children with your partner, usually the parent who is going to be living with the children is recognised as having a stronger claim on any property as their need is considered greater. As with everything covered already, this is by no means set in stone, however.

A cohabitation agreement can resolve this ambiguity before it becomes an issue. These agreements set out the arrangements for how finances, assets, children, and other issues will be handled in the event the relationship breaks down. If you are unmarried but cohabiting, a cohabitation agreement can be an excellent form of insurance should the worst happen.

What We Can Offer You

As there are no clearly defined precedents for how to divide property between separating unmarried couples, it is important to have a knowledgeable and experienced Family Law Solicitor on your side in case a dispute arises during your separation.

Our expert Family Law team have many years of experience guiding clients through the difficult and often messy process of separation. We can help you understand your rights, and if necessary, can represent you in Court and collaborative meetings or assist you during the mediation process. Whatever your personal circumstances, our Family Law team can help.

Our Past Cases

Below are some examples of property claims cases for unmarried couples that our Family Law team have conducted in the past:

  • Advising and assisting parties to determine interest in property.
  • Representing a client in a claim to determine interest in a property and an order for sale.

Make a Free Enquiry

Call 0800 086 2929,
email, or complete our Free Online Enquiry Form to arrange a free, no-obligation discussion and let us explain your legal rights and options.

Icon made by Eucalyp from

Make a Free Enquiry

Call us 24/7 on 0800 086 2929
or complete our Free Enquiry
Form below

Christopher Dolton

Solicitor and Mediator
Divorce and Family Law

Our clients say Christopher is approachable and straightforward to deal with, giving clear and easy to understand advice on specific family law issues.

Read More