Legal services for unmarried couples

Our family law solicitors provide a range of legal services for unmarried couples living together - including cohabitation agreements, parental rights and legal rights if the relationship ends.

Joshua Coombe, Chelmsford

Unmarried couples legal services: Expert cohabitation solicitors

If you are unmarried and living together, you’re a cohabiting couple. Cohabiting couples don’t have the same rights as married couples, and this lack of legal rights can become an issue if you split up, have children or buy a house together.

Our guide to the rights of unmarried couples living together covers more detail about the rights of unmarried people.

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We can help you with:

  • a cohabitation agreement which can help protect you and any children you have

If you separate, we can help:

We’re here to help

If you want a lawyer to take a closer look at your situation, our family and divorce lawyers are based in:

  • Cambridgeshire: Cambridge
  • Essex: Brentwood, Chelmsford and Saffron Walden
  • Hertfordshire: Bishop's Stortford and Royston

But we can help you wherever you are in England and Wales.

Call our specialist solicitors on 0808 231 1320

Unmarried couples FAQs

What is a cohabitation agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is formal written agreement that describes what how an unmarried couple will regulate their financial arrangements while living together and what the arrangements would be if they were to separate. The agreement makes sorting such issues out more straightforward at the time of separation. It can cover practical issues such as:

  • Finances and financial support
  • Ownership of the family home
  • Childcare arrangements
  • Changes to your tenancy
  • Division of contents such as furniture.

There is no legal concept of a ‘common law marriage.’  Living together without being married or in a civil partnership does not give you any particular rights around finances, property and children.  A cohabitation can go some way to protecting you.  If you think a cohabitation agreement could be for you, talk to one of our friendly family law solicitors.

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What is TOLATA?

TOLATA is the acronym for the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA), the Act under which the Courts have the power to resolve property and land ownership disputes. If you are living together when you are not married or in a civil partnership, this is the law that will be applied to your claims to the property (or a share of the property) in which you live, for example.  A family law solicitor can help you make a claim or represent you if your partner makes a claim against you. You can settle claims outside of Court.

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Bishop's Stortford

'Sally kept me fully informed at every stage of the process and undoubtedly went ‘the extra mile’ to complete the matter on time. Overall a very professional service for which I am extremely grateful'


Bishop's Stortford

'Helen and Elaine were both brilliant and would highly recommend. Very thorough and had a solution for every situation thrown our way'

Clare Neal

Bishop's Stortford

'I felt very reassured every time I spoke with Helen and she explained the process at every stage'
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