Unmarried Partners Solicitors
Bexleyheath, Blackheath & Petts Wood
It’s a common belief that unmarried couples who live together as man and wife acquire a legal status whereby they become a “common law husband/wife”. This is not the case as the term has no legal impact at all.
On separation cohabiting couples do not have the same legal rights or duties to each other as those who are married and the court does not have the same power to distribute property and other assets. This is the case even if they have children together and regardless of the length of time they have lived together.
The law in relation to ownership of the family home or other property is very complicated. Ownership is determined by looking at a number of different laws, including trust law and case law and by considering issues more specific to each particular case, such as contributions made to the purchase price or mortgage, written agreements, legal documents, whether there are children and so on.
On death, if cohabiting partners have not made a Will they could find that their property passes to someone other than their partner regardless of their wishes, or if they do make a Will their partner may have to pay inheritance tax, unlike a married couple or civil partner. It is therefore particularly important for co-habiting couples to make a Will. Click here for more on Wills.
Areas of Expertise
- Applications Under The Trusts of Land Act
- Cohabitation Agreements
- Declaration of Trusts and Joint Ownership of Property
- Children Issues