As marriage rates decline, many couples choose to live and have children together rather than get married.

Most people assume that our laws will have kept up with the trend towards cohabitation rather than marriage and that they will enjoy the same protection and rights on a relationship breakdown as those enjoyed by married couples. It often comes as a shock for them to discover when their relationship breaks down, that this is simply not the case.

If a couple are not legally married, they will not have the benefit of the laws that relate to divorce, separation, financial provision and maintenance. Despite the widely held belief, the term “common-law wife” or “…husband” does not confer any legal rights where the couple are not married.

In such circumstances, cohabiting couples often have to rely on complicated laws relating to trusts and property. Many family lawyers are not comfortable advising on this complex area of law. Our team of specialists are experienced in this field and are up to date on the constantly evolving case law and can help and advise you on making the most of the remedies that are available to help you achieve the best outcome. They will also provide practical advice on considering past contributions and collating the evidence necessary to support your case.

At the beginning of relationships we advise on cohabitation agreements which can be used to deal with these potential issues in the event of a relationship breakdown.

Why go to Birchall Blackburn Law?

Our approachable specialist lawyers provide practical and cost effective advice. We will frankly assess your prospects of success and explain the position sensitively and in plain English.

The law on cohabitation is complex and, in the absence of clear documentation, we have the skills to examine large volumes of personal papers to help to identify the important documents to support your case.

How much does it cost?

The cost varies depending on what is involved and the work required. We offer a one hour fixed fee initial appointment during which we will assess your circumstances. We will then explain the costs involved and give you information about the funding options available to you.

If you choose to fund the work privately, we may be able to offer a fixed fee service for relatively straightforward matters. In more complicated cases, we offer flexible payment arrangements and will always provide a detailed cost estimate in writing at the outset. We will update you regularly and help you to budget.

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