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We specialise in giving legal help and advice.

Divorce, domestic violence and abuse, custody, separation and maintenance

Unmarried Couples

If you live with your partner but are not married; what rights do you have if the relationship ends?

Many people think that living together “as husband and wife” gives you the same rights as actually being the husband or wife. Those people are wrong.

If you are not married, you do not gain any rights just by living with someone as their partner, no matter how long you live together.

If you have children you will still be parents even if you separate from the other parent. If Dad is registered on the birth certificate of a child born after 1 December 2003, both parents have parental responsibility for the child; if Dad is not registered he has no rights for his own child and does not have parental responsibility. Mum has parental responsibility regardless.

Many separating parents can agree informal arrangements for their children, where they live and when they see each parent but if parents cannot agree they can apply to the court for an order about the children. If Dad does not have parental responsibility, he will need the court’s permission to apply for an order about his own child.

If you move into your partner’s home, you have no right to stay there when you separate and no right to any money. If your partner dies and has not left you anything in his/her will, you might have a claim if your partner was supporting you or if you have lived together for 2 years, but making a claim is a long and expensive process.

If you buy a house jointly with your partner but one of you puts more money in this needs to be shown in the title deeds or you will both be assumed to own half each. Make sure you speak to the solicitors when you buy the property to make sure you are protected.

If the house is bought in your partner’s name you may have an interest in it if you contributed to the deposit and/or mortgage payments. Paying the solicitors conveyancing costs or paying for the shopping or other bills for you both while your partner pays the mortgage is not enough.

If you are the stay at home parent looking after the children but are not married, you are not entitled to any maintenance if you split up. If you would like more information about your own circumstances, please ring Heather Rose on 01327 358321 or email [email protected].

towcester family law