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Cohabitation Solicitors

If you are moving in with your partner, the last thing you want to think about is what might happen if you break up. However, if you are not married or in a civil partnership, you don’t have the same legal protections as spouses or civil partners. Taking steps to protect yourself and your children (if you have any) is essential, if only to give you peace of mind.

At Parsonage & Co Solicitors, we provide bespoke family law advice to individuals and families across London and the UK, in particular Teddington, Richmond upon Thames and the wider surrounding area.

Times have changed. It is now very common for couples to live together before they get married or enter into a civil partnership and many decide not to tie the knot at all. These types of couples are often called ‘cohabiting couples’.

Some people believe that if you live together for many years, you are ‘common law married’. However, common law marriage is actually a myth – cohabiting partners do not have the same legal rights as spouses or civil partners. There have been many sad cases over the years of people losing everything – their homes, their pets, even their businesses – because they did not realise that they were not entitled to property owned by their former partner.

Fortunately, there are many ways you can protect yourself and the right solicitor can help you avoid and resolve any disputes. Whether you plan to get married in the future or not, we are here to support you and safeguard your financial interests.

Our cohabitation solicitors can provide friendly, practical advice about all matters relating to cohabitation, including:

  • Helping you make a cohabitation agreement with your partner to protect your future financial interests in case you ever break up
  • Making a Will so your partner can inherit from you
  • Conveyancing advice, including:
    • Buying and selling property with your partner
    • Deeds of Trust to set out the proportions in which you own your home
  • Child related advice, including:
    • Advice about parental responsibility (the rights and responsibilities of raising your children)
    • Sorting out arrangements for children after separation
    • Arranging financial provision for children, such as child support
  • Resolving cohabitation disputes, including:
    • Claiming a share of your former partner’s property (TOLATA claims)
    • Reviewing, negotiating and enforcing the terms of a cohabitation agreement

Contact our cohabitation solicitors in Teddington, Richmond for specialist advice about protecting yourself in case you and your partner break up in the future or for help resolving a cohabitation dispute.

How our cohabitation solicitors can help you

Cohabitation agreements

A cohabitation agreement, also known as a living together agreement, is a type of contract that a cohabiting couple can make to set out who owns what in the relationship and how finances should be arranged if the couple breaks up in the future.

A cohabitation agreement essentially puts your financial situation into writing, making things much clearer and easier to sort out if you and your partner ever separate. So long as the agreement follows certain legal rules, it is also likely to be upheld if you end up in a dispute with your former partner later on.

Our cohabitation agreement solicitors can help you negotiate and draft a strong cohabitation agreement to set out things like:

  • How your property is split and who owns what
  • How your bills and rent/mortgage will be paid
  • How your finances are arranged, e.g. details of joint bank accounts and savings
  • How you will divide your finances if you break up in the future
  • How you intend to co-parent and arrange childcare and contact moving forwards

Matters involving children

We can provide advice to cohabiting couples about all child law matters, including:

  • Checking you have parental responsibility and taking steps to acquire it if you do not
  • Helping you work out childcare arrangements if you and your partner break up
  • Advising you about financial provision for children, such as child maintenance
  • Applying for a range of child-related court orders, such as:
    • Child Arrangements Orders
    • Prohibited Steps Orders
    • Specific Issue Orders

Visit our Child Law Solicitors page for further information.


Buying a home is an exciting step, but it is also understandably scary. This will likely be the biggest financial commitment you ever make, so it is essential to make sure your interests are safeguarded. Here’s how we can help:

  • Providing advice about the legal implications of buying as a cohabiting couple
  • Handling all legal aspects of your purchase and/or sale for you efficiently and cost-effectively
  • Providing advice about inheritance and what should happen if one partner dies (e.g. should the other partner inherit? Or would you rather your share go to another person?)
  • Drafting Deeds of Trust setting out:
    • The proportions in which you own the property
    • What should happen if one partner dies
    • What should happen if one party wants to sell

We have achieved the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme accreditation for our high quality customer service.

Visit our Conveyancing Solicitors page for more information.

Making a Will and inheritance

Cohabiting couples do not have the same inheritance rights as married couples or civil partners. If you die without making a Will, your partner will not be allowed to inherit, no matter how many years you have been together. Making a Will is the only way you can ensure that your final wishes are respected and that your partner is looked after should you die.

We have specialist Will writing expertise and can help you and your partner put in place strong Wills that protect both of you and any children.

Visit our Wills & Probate Solicitors page for more information.

Cohabitation disputes

Not all relationships last forever. If you and your partner have split up, we can help you work through any problems as quickly and smoothly as possible.

We understand and appreciate how emotionally upsetting any relationship breakdown can be on everyone involved. We aim to resolve matters amicably with the minimal amount of damage possible to your finances, your mental health and the happiness of your children.

There is no such thing in the UK as ‘common law rights’, but we will help you take whatever action possible to put you in a strong position and secure your future.

Our family team includes members of Resolution who are committed to helping cohabitees find constructive resolutions out of court wherever possible.

Our expertise includes:

  • Disputes concerning the terms of a cohabitation agreement
  • Financial disputes, such as disagreements over who owns what
  • Property disputes and TOLATA claims claims for an interest in your home even if your name is not on the legal title
  • Arrangements for children, such as where they will live and how much contact they should have with each parent
  • Financial provision for children, such as child support

Our approach to resolving cohabitation disputes

Splitting up with a partner is hard enough without disputes spiralling out of control. We understand that when emotions are running high and property and belongings you care about are at stake, it can be difficult to resolve issues without arguments arising. Our goal is to help you find a way forward as efficiently and directly as possible.

Our team includes Resolution members, Sylvia Parsonage, Sharon Wheatley and Fidelma McCarthy who have specialist expertise helping families resolve issues without going to court, saving you time, costs and stress.Whether you need our help resolving a financial dispute, sorting out childcare arrangements, or enforcing a cohabitation agreement, we are here to provide practical advice and negotiation expertise combined with a warm, welcoming approach.

However, where informal negotiation is not possible, we also have extensive court litigation experience and are prepared to fight your corner, giving you the best possible chance of achieving a positive outcome.

Get in touch with our cohabitation solicitors in Teddington, Richmond

Contact our cohabitation solicitors in Teddington, Richmond for specialist advice about protecting yourself in case you and your partner break up in the future or for help resolving a cohabitation dispute.

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