Category: Cohabitation Breakup

Legal advice: The right steps to take when a relationship ends

More often than not, the breakdown of a marriage or long-term relationship is a traumatic experience. Not only is there emotional distress, but there may well also be serious anxieties around finances and the custody of children.

Following the good legal advice of a reputable family solicitor like Lund Bennett and understanding your rights could, however, go some way towards easing the process.

At what stage during a relationship breakdown should you take legal advice? 

Normally the earlier the better. If you are thinking about leaving your partner or your partner has left you, it is best to get advice from a solicitor specialising in family law as soon as possible to see what your options are.

Why is it so vital to take steps sooner rather than later?

Once the relationship has broken down the family assets need to be divided up. By doing this early on you can ensure there is a fair distribution. It will also help you to move on with your new life once everything has been decided.

How is custody of children determined?

The primary concern is always the best interest of the child – this will always be first and foremost in any arrangement. Depending on the child’s age, however, his or her wishes may well also be taken in to account.

Do entitlements differ depending on whether or not you are actually married?

Yes. Unfortunately, if you are not married you won’t have the same rights as a married couple. In this situation it is therefore even more important to seek legal advice early on in a breakdown.

Coronavirus is very likely to cause a spike in divorce rates in the United Kingdom

With the whole country now into it’s third week of lock down it is likely there are thousands of married couples now self-isolating which could potentially end in divorce.

Typically the peak times for people divorcing are after long periods of exposure together over the summer holidays and Christmas period.

Lady Shackleton told peers at Westminster that often when couples face serious and stressful situations it can lead some to re-evaluate their lives and what is important to them.

Ahead of the United Kingdom in the divorce increase is China. After ‘couples spending too much time together’ China has seen over 300 couples applying for divorces in the last three weeks. One city has introduced a limit to allow no more than 10 couples to divorce per day.

A 2018 study found couples who lived together before marriage had lower divorce rates in the first year, compared to couples who didn’t. But higher divorce rates appeared after people living with their spouses for five years or longer. 

What is included in a cohabitation agreement?

Cohabiting couples do not have the same legal protection as married couples, but a cohabitation agreement can offer some protection.

A cohabitation agreement allows couples living together to agree their financial commitments and obligations to each other, to avoid disputes later down the line.

With more people than ever now choosing to cohabit, the lack of legal protection for cohabiting couples can make breakups fraught and messy.

To avoid stressful disputes, many cohabiting couples are now choosing to create a legal cohabitation agreement, to iron out the details about what would happen in the event of a relationship breakdown.

A cohabitation agreement gives couples the opportunity to discuss who owns what, how property and assets should be split, and how children will be supported, should they decide to part ways in the future.

Creating an agreement in advance usually results in fair and realistic decisions being made, which isn’t always the case in the midst of a relationship breakdown.

are a few things that you should sit down and discuss in detail before creating a cohabitation agreement.

Whilst you’re cohabiting:

  • Who owns what?
  • How will bills and living expenses be covered?

In the event of a separation:

  • How will your possessions and assets be divided?
  • How will property be divided?
  • Where would children live?
  • How will children be financially supported?
  • How would money in joint accounts be split?
  • How would overdrafts and debt be split?
  • Who owns each vehicle?

For a cohabitation to be legally binding, you will each need to be able to confirm that you have received independent legal advice and entered into the agreement voluntarily.

For help and advice with a cohabitation dispute or creating an agreement, get in touch with our team of specialists here at Lund Bennett Law by giving us a call on 0161 927 3118.

Woman collapses in court after judge rules that she did not have a claim for a half-share in her ex-boyfriend’s business

The harsh reality of a cohabitation separation hit Miss Turner hard as Judge Alan Johns QC ruled that her ex-boyfriend, Mr. Durant, had not promised to marry her and she did not have a claim for a half-share of his business. After judgment was delivered, Miss Turner fainted onto the desk in front of her and the case was adjourned while she received medical attention.

Mr. Durant and Miss Turner were in a relationship from the late 1980s to 2014 and had a child together however they never married.

Miss Turner claimed that Mr. Durant’s business was worth ‘millions’ and that he promised her a 50% share in the business. Miss Turner said that she put £200,000 life savings into buying their home and asked Mr. Durant to match that contribution however Mr. Durant said that he needed cash to grow his business and instead promised her a half share in his company.

The fact that Miss Turner could provide no documentary evidence in support of her claim meant that the judge decided that it was ‘inherently improbable’ that Mr. Durant ever made such a promise. The Judge also added that there was no imbalance between Miss Turner and Mr. Durant as he would be paying the £250,000 mortgage on their home.

This case highlights more than ever the importance of raising public awareness of the legal issues cohabiting couples face upon separation.

There is a widespread belief that a ‘common law’ marriage exists however the reality is that cohabiting couples are not afforded the same legal rights as their married counterparts when it comes to property and business ownership.

All of these uncertainties can be avoided by having a Cohabitation Agreement in place so that both you and your partner are clear about who walks away with what in the event of separation. To speak with one of our specialist Family Law solicitors about a Cohabitation Agreement please call 0161 927 3118.

How To Avoid A Costly Cohabitation Breakup

While we see plenty of celebrity couples opting to cohabit rather than commit to marriages, the chances are that at least some of these relationships will be bound by a co-habitation agreement. This allows couples to work out who is entitled to what if a relationship breaks down.

The number of co-habiting couples in the UK continues to rise fast. The number has almost tripled since 1996 from 1.5 million to 3.3 million and now represents 17.5% of all family arrangements in the UK.

Unfortunately, a significant proportion of co-habiting couples are unaware of their legal rights with 26% mistakenly believing that they have ‘common law marriage’ rights equal to those of married couples. This certainly isn’t the case and if a relationship breaks down the actual status of relationships will be brought into sharp focus.

If for example a co-habiting couple own their home as joint tenants, then regardless of who invested the most into the property, it would be split 50/50 following a breakup of the relationship. 50% of a property would also be automatically be passed on to the other partner upon death.

Awareness of legal rights when it comes to children in the family is also poor with 73% of respondents in one survey unaware of what support they would be entitled to when being left to bring up children.

The mother and father of the children are required to contribute to the cost of bringing up children until they leave school or go on to attend University.

All of these uncertainties can be avoided by putting together a co-habitation agreement which removes many of the uncertainties that exist for couples who choose not to marry.