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Can an unmarried partner have the same rights as a spouse?

There is a widespread myth that unmarried couples who live together as if they were husband and wife eventually acquire certain legal rights, similar to those enjoyed by married couples. This is not the case.

Despite mounting pressure for legislative reform, there is still no overarching legislation governing the relationship breakdown of cohabiting couples. This means that if you live together and your relationship ends, you must rely on a variety of legislation to resolve any disputes.

Disputes over jointly owned property are common. If you and your partner have children, we can advise you on your child support obligations or entitlements, and how to deal with any other financial claims that may exist on behalf of a child. This may include housing provision, school fees and other payments for your child.

Whatever your specific circumstances, if you are living with your partner and your relationship breaks down, our expert family solicitors in Chester and Shrewsbury can advise you on your options and guide you through the legal process.

Click here to contact us about your matter.

Cohabitation agreements

This may include drawing up a cohabitation agreement as a pre-emptive measure. This will set out how your finances are to be managed in the future. A cohabitation agreement can also set out what happens to your property (whether jointly owned or not) and how any proceeds of sale would be divided if the relationship were to break down. It can also address non-financial arrangements for children, such as where they will live and what the contact arrangements will be.

Get in touch

If you wish to discuss unmarried separation with a specialist family law solicitor, please contact our team today by completing the enquiry form below.

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Key Contacts

Simon Magner Mawdsley

Simon Magner Mawdsley

Partner | Head of Family Law


Described by clients as "an excellent listener, open and engaging", "exceptional", "reassuring" and "insightful", Simon acts for a range of clients in all aspects of relationship breakdowns including divorce, resolution of financial matters, civil partnerships, cohabitation disputes, pre- and post-marital agreements, injunctions, and children matters.

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Lorraine Saunders

Lorraine Saunders

Family Law Partner

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Richard Barge

Richard Barge

Family Law Consultant

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