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Cohabitation Law

Banner Jones provides the latest up to date information on Cohabitation Laws and guidance on Cohabitation Agreement.

The law treats unmarried couples different from married couples. Our knowledge of this complex area of law can help you resolve your problems following a break-up with a cohabitation partner.

Your cohabitation rights means there is a lot that can be done to protect your interests, including your financial assets.

If there are children from the relationship, we can help you agree to arrangements for them.

Cohabitation rights

Did you know the following cohabitation rights?

  • There is no such thing as a “common law” husband and wife
  • If a co-habitee dies, the survivor is not his or her “next of kin” and therefore may have to go to court to claim all or any of the deceased’s estate
  • You may not automatically be responsible for any surviving children of the relationship
  • A co-habitee does not automatically acquire an interest in his or her partner’s property simply by living there for a certain period of time; and that the law in this area is so complex that even Judges sometimes struggle to make sense of it
  • Even if you own property together, you may not own it equally (especially if it was bought before 1996) and that a recent case has stated that, in certain situations, the value of that house may not automatically be shared equally between former co-habitees

The benefit of a cohabitation agreement

A Cohabitation agreement can help remove some of the above uncertainties. If you are going to live with a partner but not marry, it is sensible to create a cohabitation agreement which records your intentions about your assets and how you would share or divide them if your relationship broke up. At Banner Jones we can draft a cohabitation agreement which states your intentions and protects your financial assets, it is also beneficial as both parties are aware of their cohabitation rights.

Contact Us

Our expert solicitors in Sheffield, Mansfield and Chesterfield are highly experienced and will treat each case uniquely depending on your circumstances. Our family law team are always on hand to provide support and advice on whether a cohabitation agreement is right for you. We ensure each of our clients receive the upmost care and consideration and can offer expert up to date advice on the latest cohabitation laws.

We have offices in Chesterfield, Sheffield, Dronfield, Mansfield and Nottingham.

How Does Cohabitation Work?

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Frequently Asked Questions

He's got to keep a roof over our heads hasn't he?

Non-residential parents have to pay maintenance for their children; hopefully the amount can be agreed though negotiation and if not then the CSA will decide. Each case is different.   If for example the Mum and the children stay in the family home then she may relinquish her claims over any other assets such as pension and savings in return.

How soon can I file for Divorce?

There is a 12 month barring rule which means you can start the divorce process after being married for 1 year. In England you can get divorced if your marriage has broken down irretrivably, usually proved by allegations of adultery or unreasonable behaviour, or if there has been 2 years' of continously living apart.

My aunt only has one bank account. Can I deal with this on her behalf?

If the bank allows, it is possible for your aunt to name you as a third party on her bank account. This will allow you to withdraw funds and sign cheques on her behalf. We can help your aunt complete the mandate form required to put this in place.

What am I entitled to in a divorce? Can she take me for every penny?

No.  Sometimes it may feel as though this has happened. The aim when sharing out matrimonial assets is to be fair.  Both spouses have to make full disclosure about their assets and debts before any decisions can be made about distribution, trying to hide anything won't work.  Factors which are important when sharing out the assets include the current and future needs of each spouse and any dependent children; the length of marriage and the age, earning capacity and contributions of each party.

What is involved in the Collaborative Law process?

The process is based upon each party having their own collaborative family lawyer. Progress is made in a series of four-way meetings, face to face, sat round the table. There are no letters or phone calls except to arrange the meetings and to circulate the minutes of those meetings. Both parties and their Collaborative lawyers as well as making a commitment not to go to court, agree to a set of basic ground rules. Negotiations are based upon full financial disclosure, and when needed, other jointly instructed neutral professionals (such as accountants) can be brought in to assist in the process.

Solutions are based upon the parties’ interests and needs rather than conflicting positions. Sometimes only a couple of meetings are needed, sometimes four or five. These meetings can be close together or widely spaced depending upon your individual circumstances. The choice is yours. Once agreement is reached, your Collaborative lawyer will make it binding for you and put the agreement into effect. For couples and families who genuinely seek a fair solution and want to minimise the pain of family breakdown, Collaborative Family Law may offer the best approach.

What is the Collaborative Divorce process and how is it different?

Couples who decide to go down the route of collaborative family law sign an agreement not to go to court but to meet face to face reaching a fair and balanced outcome. The benefit of the collaborative divorce process is that it is non-court based therefore it allows you to:

  • To control the pace, timescale and outcome of your discussions
  • To find a solution bespoke to your own circumstances
  • To give careful consideration to complicated business, family business or high value investment interests
  • To work with other specialist advisers such as accountants, financial advisers and pension experts jointly with your partner if required
  • To keep things as amicable as possible (which is particularly important where there are children involved)
  • To avoid conflict and deal with your separation in a dignified manner
Will I lose touch with my children?

Your aim should be that both parents still play an active part in the raising of the child/children.  Usually parents sort this out amongst themselves, although if there are problems mediation can be a good way to resolve this.  Going to Court should always be the last resort where children are involved.

Will we have to go to Court during our divorce?

No, getting a divorce should be an administrative excersise only and there are many options open to you that avoid going to Court.

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The family department at Banner Jones have just completed the legal arrangements in respect of my divorce. The service I received was exemplary and I wanted to write to you to let you know this. I have been pretty constrained in relation to availability to meet and most of our business has been done over email which I appreciated. Responses have been very timely, updates provided regularly, deadlines hit and fees reasonable. I contrast this with the service provided by a large law firm in Sheffield in the early part of the year and your approach and that of your staff to customer services, in my view, sets your firm apart. Your firm came to me through personal recommendation by a friend and I shall be happy to do the same. Thank you again.

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Thanks for your assistance with my case, your advice has been invaluable, and I would certainly recommend Banner Jones to my family and friends.

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We would like to thank our solicitor acting for us Richard, he did a great job and was very easy to speak to and very friendly. Extremely professional and we would use him again in the future.

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Kelly Parks
Kelly Parks
Head of Family
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