Unmarried Partners

Co-habiting Couples

Many people believe that if they live together they will gain the same legal rights as married couples. The term ‘common law wife or husband’ is frequently used to describe a couple who live together (co-habiting couple).

It is important to realise that the legal rights afforded to co-habiting couples upon separation are very different from those of married couples.

Bank Accounts

Assets such as bank accounts, savings or investments will remain in the ownership of whoever’s name they are in. Assets held in joint names will generally be divided equally.

Property for unmarried couples

The starting point in this situation is that the person whose name the property is in will retain full ownership.

If the property is held in joint names as joint tenants then the asset will usually be divided equally between the couple. If the property is held as tenants in common the property will be divided in accordance with share capital.


Of course it is important for both parents to have regular and substantial contact with their children, but in cases of unmarried couples the rights, in particular of fathers can be more complex.

If there are children from the relationship, then the parent the children live with will be able to claim child support maintenance for the children. Please see our page on Children Law for more detailed information.

Contact us on 020 8318 4345.