Separation of Unmarried Couples

Separation of Unmarried Couples

Unlike their married counterparts, unmarried couples have very restricted legal obligations towards one another. This means that when unmarried couples separate, the situation can become rather complicated, especially with regards to matters such as the ownership of property.

While some people have heard of the concept of ‘common law marriage’, this is a myth. Unmarried couples are unfortunately not gifted any automatic legal rights by virtue of them living together or owning a share of a property.

At Tinsdills, we understand how daunting the prospect of separation can be, especially if you do not have any existing provisions in place such as a Cohabitation Agreement. As such, our team can be by your side to provide straightforward advice, establishing what your position is and what steps you can take moving forwards.

Our family law experts have specialist expertise in utilising various methods alternative dispute resolution, including Collaborative Law. Taking this approach can help to resolve any potential points of disagreement effectively and efficiently.

All of our team are members of Resolution, a network of family law professionals who are committed to promoting constructive approaches to family issues. We also have a specialist accredited member of Resolution as a part of our team.

Please note we do not deal with Legal Aid enquiries for any Family Law work.

To arrange an initial appointment with one of our separation of unmarried couple solicitors in Hanley, Leek, Newcastle-Under-Lyme, or Sandbach please call 01782 652300 or use the enquiry form on the right hand side of the page.

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    Our Separation of Unmarried Couple Expertise

    If you are not married, but are living with your partner, you may already have a Cohabitation Agreement in place. This is an agreement that sets out your intentions for your property and assets if the relationship breaks down.

    Should you already have a Cohabitation Agreement in place, this can make the practical aspects of your separation much more straightforward, and allow for a cleaner break. However, even where you have an agreement in place, there may be some disagreement over its terms, which is where our solicitors can step in to support you.

    We can carefully assess the terms of the Cohabitation Agreement and advise you on making sure the terms are accurately followed following your separation.

    If you are not separating from your partner, but do not already have a Cohabitation Agreement in place, this is something our team can advise you on. You can find out more about our Cohabitation Agreement expertise here.

    If you and your former partner have a property in your sole or joint names that you lived in together, you may be able to make a claim under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act (TOLATA).

    TOLATA gives the Court the power to make decisions where there are property disputes between unmarried couples. When instructed, the Court can make decisions regarding the ownership of the property and who can remain in the property or whether the property needs to be sold. TOLATA can allow someone to make a claim, even if they are not named on the deeds to the property,

    Our solicitors can work with you to handle TOLATA claims as practically as possible. Whether you are seeking to protect yourself from a TOLATA claim being made against a property you own, or you are looking to make a TOLATA claim of your own, we can step in to support you in reaching your desired outcome.

    This includes helping you to secure a settlement out of court or pursuing a claim in the Court arena.

    The starting point for unmarried couples that do not have children is that they will not have any ongoing financial obligations towards one another. Typically, unmarried couples will only seek to divide assets held jointly in accordance with their legal ownership.

    However, where a couple has children, suitable arrangements need to be made between both parents, including contact arrangements and child maintenance.

    Our solicitors can work alongside you to help make suitable arrangements following a separation, helping you to clearly understand your position and what actions you will be able to take, avoiding any potential pitfalls which could leave you in a vulnerable position.

    Meet Our Dedicated Separation of Unmarried Couple Team

    “Heather was very informative and thorough, if I didn’t understand anything she kindly explained everything. She has been an amazing help and I want to thank her for everything she has assisted me with.”

    What Our Clients Say About Our Family Law Expertise

    Our central goal is to satisfy our client’s needs. Here’s just a few of them, in their own words, detailing how we do exactly that.

    “I have been going through a very messy divorce and Heather and Tinsdills have been my rock. Her advice has been invaluable and she has kept me from going in all gung ho in the divorce proceedings. I would highly recommend their services and I’m still using them for my ongoing issues.”

    “I was really pleased with my solicitor Karen with all the help and support she gave me regarding my situation. Would highly recommend.”

    Get in Touch With our Separation of Unmarried Couple Solicitors Today

    If you wish to discuss arrangements following your separation from your partner further, please get in touch with a member of our expert team today.

    With a dedicated team on hand to guide you through every step you need to take following a separation, you can rest assured that we will provide you with the best chance of achieving the best possible outcome for you and your family.

    Please note we do not deal with Legal Aid enquiries for any Family Law work.

    To arrange an appointment with one of our separation of unmarried Couple solicitors in Hanley, Leek, Newcastle-Under-Lyme or Sandbach, please call 01782 652300 or use the enquiry form on the right hand side of the page.

    Separation of Unmarried Couples FAQs

    TOLATA stands for Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act. It gives the courts certain powers to resolve property disputes between unmarried couples.

    Common law marriage refers to the belief that unmarried couples who are in a long-term relationship and who live together acquire the same rights as married couples. Common law marriage is a misconception, as it does not exist in England and Wales.

    If one partner from an unmarried couple dies, the surviving partner will not automatically inherit a portion of their estate. The instructions set out in the Will of the deceased confirm  how their estate is to be distributed.

    If there is no Will in place, the surviving partner may be able to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. A claim can be made if:

    • The couple were living together in the same household as if they were a married couple for a period of two years prior to the date of death; or
    • The surviving partner had been maintained by the deceased and no proper provisions were made for them

    Specialist advice from a contested probate solicitor would be required in this regard.

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