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Cohabitation Disputes

Separation can be tricky and uncertain for unmarried couples because they don’t have the same legal rights and protections as those who are in a marriage or civil partnership. When unmarried couples who have been living together split up, a multitude of issues can arise - particularly where property and children are concerned.

Having expert support from family lawyers experienced in these matters is essential, especially if you want to protect your finances and future relationships from the cost of bitter conflict.

Glanvilles have extensive experience in resolving all types of cohabitation disputes that typically include the complexities and sensitivities where property and children are involved in a relationship break down.

The types of cohabitation disputes we can help with include:

  • Separation for unmarried couples
  • Financial settlements for unmarried couples
  • Cohabitation property disputes
  • Child arrangements for unmarried parents
  • Financial provision for children of unmarried couples

Our team of Family Law solicitors have wide experience in advising unmarried couples and families in Chichester, Fareham and Havant as well as Hampshire and West Sussex,

about their rights, responsibilities and entitlements when their relationship breaks down – especially where children are involved.

We can offer practical advice on parental responsibility, protecting your assets, finances and ensuring children of the relationship are properly provided for after separation. Our aim is to achieve the best possible outcome for all involved, avoiding unnecessary conflict and stress.

Our cohabitation disputes solicitors are very experienced in the use of alternative dispute resolution and collaborative law as a highly effective means of reaching a fair and amicable settlement – even where circumstances are very complicated.

Where alternative dispute resolution is not successful, court proceedings will be the next course of action as a means of getting matters resolved. We can help with applications to the family court and provide all the support and guidance you will need throughout your matter.

Get in touch for cohabitation disputes legal advice

Speak to one of our expert cohabitation dispute resolution solicitors in Chichester, FarehamHavant or Petworth or use our simple enquiry form to ask us a question and get a quick response.

Why choose our cohabitation disputes solicitors?

We have extensive experience in achieving amicable solutions to all types of cohabitation disputes that typically include disagreements over property and children.

Our dedicated family team comprises Senior Associate Charlotte Woodhouse, Chartered Legal Executive Janet Paxton and trainee solicitor Alex Pegg. Both Charlotte and Janet are members of Resolution, which is the leading professional association for family lawyers, giving emphasis to avoiding unnecessary conflict in family law.

Charlotte is also a fully trained and qualified collaborative lawyer, which enables us to offer non-confrontational dispute resolution as a highly effective method of settling even the most complicated cohabitation disputes.

Glanvilles LLP are firmly committed to best practice. Our high level expertise, standards in practice management and client care can be demonstrated by our many accreditations.

We are independently regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and hold Lexcel accreditation by the Law Society. Our other accreditations include the Law Society’s Family Law Advanced and the Conveyancing Quality and Wills & Inheritance Quality – which give our clients confidence and assurance when having to deal with the many aspects of separating such as selling a home, buying a new home or updating a Will.

The Glanvilles’ client service promise

When you instruct our cohabitation dispute solicitors, we promise:

  • Our staff will be friendly, respectful and attentive
  • Your concerns will be listened to, your questions answered, and your options explained in plain English
  • The costs of dealing with your requirements will be made clear to you from the outset
  • We will answer your phone calls and emails promptly
  • We will keep you regularly updated at all times

How we can help with cohabitation disputes

Many unmarried separating couples wish to avoid court proceedings, preferring instead to reach fair and amicable agreements over the division of assets, finances and any child arrangements.

Our team have particular skill and expertise in cohabitation dispute resolution and can assist you in negotiating a fair outcome even where complex issues are involved.

Our expert team includes trained collaborative lawyer, Charlotte Woodhouse, who can advise and support you throughout the collaborative law process, which proves a popular and effective way of resolving cohabitation disputes.

The collaborative law approach involves both you and your former partner having a series of meetings that will be supported by each of your respective specially trained collaborative lawyers.

Constructive negotiations, which minimise conflict, will give you the best chance of reaching a fair and equitable resolution, more quickly and cost-effectively compared with court proceedings.

Separation for unmarried couples

Unmarried couples, living together, are viewed in legal terms as ‘cohabitees’ who are ‘cohabiting.’ Many wrongly believe they have rights as a common law spouse which are acquired during their relationship. In reality, however, there is very little legal protection for cohabiting couples who decide to separate.

When unmarried cohabiting couples separate, the law does not treat them in the same way as a divorcing married couple - they have fewer rights, regardless of the length of their relationship or how long they have cohabited.

Division of finances for unmarried couples

Usually, when an unmarried couple splits up, they will divide any assets held jointly according to how they are owned legally. Each party would get to keep their own property or their share of jointly owned property.

For unmarried couples, where there are no children involved, there will be no right to claim financial support from their ex-partner. As they will have no ongoing financial obligations to one another, they will be unable to claim ownership of each other’s property or make claims for a share of the assets held in the other’s name, such as pensions, savings, businesses or investments.

Find out more about how we can help with division of finances.

Cohabitation property disputes

When an unmarried cohabitating couple decides to separate, disputes over jointly owned property can often arise over the sale of the property, equity or a transfer of ownership.

Typically, assets that are owned jointly will be divided according to legal ownership. However, one party might argue that they are entitled to a bigger share because they have made greater capital contributions during the relationship, for example.

Whether you are defending or claiming your rights with respect to a property you share, we can help with applications to court under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act (TOLATA). The court will establish ownership, shares, and who has the right to occupy a property, having the power to make an order to sell the property and/or split equity, if necessary.

Where children are involved, the court can grant an extended right of occupation to the non-owning party who has children living with them. We can help you with applications to the court under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989 for a lump sum settlement or a transfer of property order.

Find out more about how we can help with cohabitation property disputes.

Child arrangements for unmarried parents

We encourage separating unmarried parents to agree on child arrangements with each other. If an agreement cannot be reached, we can help with applications to court for a Child Arrangement Order which will help decide living and contact arrangements for children and their parents.

Find out more about how we can help with arrangements for children.

Financial provision for children of unmarried couples

Where unmarried parents have children, child maintenance can provide a source of financial support after separation.

We strongly encourage separating couples to agree on child maintenance arrangements between themselves. Where this is not possible, we can help with applications to the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) for an assessment and calculations for maintenance.

We can also assist with applications under Schedule 1 of the Children’s Act 1989 where accommodation or additional financial provision will be of benefit to children of the relationship.

Find out more about how we can help with financial provision for children of unmarried couples.

Get in touch for cohabitation disputes legal advice

Give us a call at your local branch in Chichester, FarehamHavant or Petworth or fill in our simple online enquiry form for a quick response.