Unmarried Couples

The law in this area is complicated and it is therefore very important that you seek specialist advice at an early stage to find out what rights you do have legally.

Common Law Marriage is a myth - time to seek advice

In England and Wales there is no such things as "common law husband or wife". Irrespective of the length of time you and your partner have lived together then unless you have children your legal rights as to finances are governed by trust and property law.

Capital & Property

If you own a property in joint names then the starting point is that you have an interest in that property. That interest may be governed by a legal document which you signed at the time of purchase of subsequently and there are different methods of owning a property for example as "joint tenants" or "tenants in common" or possibly under some trust based arrangement.

If you live in a property which is solely in your partner's name then you may be able to establish an interest if you have contributed towards the purchase price of the property or you can show that you have made other contributions. If you are the party who owns the property then it is equally important to seek advice in order to protect your interest.

The law in this area is complicated and it is therefore very important that you seek specialist advice at an early stage to find out what rights you do have legally. If you and your partner have children together then you may be able to establish a legal claim under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989 for a property to be purchased or preserved for your children. The claim is made on behalf of your child/children.

It may be possible to seek an order that you are able to either stay in your property or gain assistance from your former partner to assist you to re-house.

Any assistance would then revert back to your former partner at a future point in time or pass directly to your child. If you are concerned that your ex-partner may make a claim then again do seek early advice.


Maintenance for children is governed by the Child Maintenance Service. There is a formula for working out the maintenance based upon your gross income. There are occasions where top up orders can be made and the Court does have jurisdiction in certain circumstances to make additional awards.

There is no jurisdiction in English law for income related payments to be paid to former partners. If you are married then you do have income related claims unless or until they are dismissed by a Court. This provision does not apply if you are not married.

Whatever the issues it is important to take proper advice from one of your expert family lawyers.

For further information, or to arrange an appointment please contact us on 01274 861 096 or email [email protected]



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