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Cohabitation & Unmarried Couples

Contrary to popular belief, in England and Wales, there are no equivalent legal rights offering protection or help to resolve financial disputes between cohabiting couples to that of married couples or civil partners. This can leave couples who have been in a relationship together for many years, and possibly have children together, in some difficulty.

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Cohabitation planning advice

Considering legal matters when your relationship is at its happiest and full of hope for the future is unlikely to be a priority. Unfortunately, you never know what is around the corner and we can help you to plan for eventualities. We can advise on:

  • living together agreements, also known as cohabitation agreements;
  • legal planning in case of a relationship breakdown, or death of a partner;
  • home ownership and mortgage payments;
  • Wills and financial planning, working with colleagues across the firm; 
  • arrangements for children and maintenance payments; and
  • financial support agreements.

How we work with you

Whilst based in the South of England, Paris Smith acts for businesses and families throughout the UK. Technology has enabled us to provide a high level of service to our clients whether they are local to our offices or not. Our advice can be given in many ways:

  • Over the telephone
  • Via video conferencing
  • In face to face meetings

We will talk through how you would like to be contacted and the best ways for us to meet in our early conversations with you.

Get in touch to speak with an expert.

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Frank Prior

Partner – Head of Family, Southampton

Huw Miles

Managing Partner – Family, Winchester and Southampton

Huw Miles

Managing Partner – Family, Winchester and Southampton

Cohabitation & Unmarried Couples Resources

Podcast

19th June 2019

Legal Mythbusting – The “Common Law Spouse”

LISTEN TRANSCRIPT

19th June 2019

Legal Mythbusting – The “Common Law Spouse”

With cohabiting couples the fastest growing family type in England and Wales, the rights and responsibilities surrounding cohabitation are of growing importance to couples who are (or are looking to) cohabit. The myth goes that after a qualifying period of cohabitation (usually thought to be either 2 or 5 years) cohabitants acquire the rights and responsibilities of marriage in the eyes of the law.

However, this is not the case and is very misleading as to the reality of the legal position. Listen to our podcast from Family Solicitor Danielle Taylor to hear all about the truths behind this legal myth

Show notes:
00:45 What myths do people believe about cohabitation? Dani introduces the myth of the ‘Common Law spouse’
01:07 How does legislation define cohabitation? The misleading language that fuels misconceptions: Dani explains what this really means in the eyes of the law
01:47 What constitutes a cohabitant?
02:17 What happens when a your relationship breaks down with the person you live with? Where do you stand and what are the risks?
03:20 The court jurisdiction: how can they divide assets?
03:45 Dani explores where you stand legally when children are involved and child maintenance
04:36 Dani explains what you can do to protect yourself under the current laws if you are a cohabitant – what should you agree on before you commit financially?
07:35 Dani concludes, what are the three things you should do before you move in together

LISTEN

19th June 2019

Man’s Best Friend: What happens to pets when you separate?

LISTEN TRANSCRIPT

19th June 2019

Man’s Best Friend: What happens to pets when you separate?

Upon divorce or separation, often the presence of the beloved family pet continues to provide one party with well needed support and consistency. Be it the family cat, the children’s gerbil, the exceptional tortoise or man’s best friend; there are a variety of pets to be considered upon separation. But where should the pet go on separation – who should they stay with, and what legal advice should you seek in this situation?

Show notes:
00:32 Dani examines how pets are viewed in the eyes of the law
01:00 What do you need to consider when separating in relation to pets?
01:06 What do the courts in England and Wales say?
01:35 Financial proceedings: Dani discusses at what happens when you can’t agree on what happens to a pet on separation
02:40 Dani explores what happens to pets which have a significant monetary value
03:27 Dani looks at the emotional ties we have to our pets and how they can affect divorce proceedings and legal costs
03:45 Dani concludes the podcast by summarising what advice you should seek from your lawyer when it comes to separation, divorce and pets

LISTEN

Videos

Family Law FAQs

TRANSCRIPT

7th November 2023

Family Law FAQs

0:01.2 Hi everybody. My name is Heather Souter and I am a senior associate here at the family team at Paris Smith. Hello everyone. My name’s Zoe Culverwell and I’m an associate in the family team here at Paris Smith. We are delighted to have you back for our second series in our family law videos.

0:18.5 In our first series of videos, we covered the different ways of reaching a resolution. We’re now moving on to frequently asked questions.

0:26.6 And that’s because as family lawyers, no two days are ever the same, and we’re quite often asked very similar questions.

0:33.5 These concepts are obviously very familiar to us as family lawyers, but they will often be new to you at a stressful time. We thought you would therefore be helpful to go through things that come up regularly and try to demystify some key concepts and legal jargon.

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