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Cohabiting Couples

Family Law Solicitors In Birmingham & Manchester

Wildings' Family Law solicitors have a great deal of experience in dealing with matters regarding cohabiting couples.

Contrary to popular belief there is no such thing in English law as a “common-law” husband or wife. The law dealing with problems that arise when relationships break down between unmarried couples is complex. It is possible to have lived with someone for many years in a property which is owned solely by that person and have acquired no legal or financial interest in that property.

Contact our team for a free initial consultation to discuss a legal issue related to cohabiting couples. Freephone 0330 333 8797, request a callback or email us at

Cohabiting couple matters: What Will we Need to Know?

In the event of a relationship breakdown between a cohabiting couple there is certain information that our Family Law Solicitors will require in order to give you legal advice:

  • What discussions took place prior to and during the purchase of the property with your partner? We will need you to provide dates, times and locations of any such discussions and details of any third parties who were present
  • How the purchase had been funded
  • Who paid the deposit on the property
  • Where the monies came from
  • If the money for the deposit was borrowed, who was it borrowed from and on what terms?
  • If it was a gift, who was the money given by and why?
  • Who paid the legal fees, conveyancing fees, surveyors fees and stamp duty?
  • Where did the money come from?
  • Who made the mortgage payments and from which account?
  • Who put money into that account?
  • Who paid the other household outgoings and from which account?
  • Who paid money into that account?
  • Has any structural work been carried out to the property, e.g. an extension or new roof? Who paid for that work and where did the money come from? What discussions took place between the parties about those payments?
  • Were you engaged to be married at any time during your relationship? If so, we will need full details.
  • Have you and your partner made Wills and if so, did those Wills make provision for the other party?
  • Who paid for the other joint expenditure, from which account and where did these monies come from?
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Separation of a cohabiting couple: The Court Process

The Court will only become involved if you and your partner cannot agree on how to deal with a property. In this situation an application to the Court will be made for an order determining how the interests in the property are shared among the cohabiting couple, and/or an order for sale of the property.

In that situation, the Court will take account of the following factors:

  1. The intentions of the parties
  2. The purpose of the property
  3. The welfare of any child who lives in the property or might reasonably be expected to do so
  4. The interest of any secured creditor or beneficiary and their circumstances and wishes, if adult
  5. In a situation that involves a property with joint ownership, disputes over what shares of the property each party owns will be decided by the Court upon the strength and reliability of the evidence provided.
  6. When a property is owned only by one person and the other is seeking to establish an interest in it the situation is less straightforward. The Court will wish to consider any direct or indirect financial contribution from the other party

If you are or have been part of a cohabiting couple now separating, then book your free initial consultation with a family law solicitor today. Freephone 0330 333 8797 or email us at


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