Building security with a cohabitation agreement

‘While everyone hopes their loving partnership will last forever, experience unfortunately tells us otherwise’

It’s a myth that a ‘common law’ wife or husband exists in the UK. If fact, there is no such concept in English law. This means that the law relating to people who live together is different to those who are married. Your actual cohabitation rights could be quite unlike what you think they may be. This can lead to confusion and worry if the relationship should fail.

A cohabitation agreement drawn up by our expert team is one way of securing your future if you and your partner go your separate ways.

Helping you understand your cohabitation rights

Whether you are moving in with a new partner and want to make sure you’re prepared for the future, or you’re at the end of a relationship and trying to ease the process of moving apart, it essential to understand your cohabitation rights.

  • Cohabitation agreements
    Ideally you’ll have a cohabitation agreement in place when you move in together as a couple. It sets out the terms on which you will live together regarding income, property, belongings or children. It can be straightforward to draw up and may protect your long-term interests. Find out more.
  • Separating after cohabiting
    As couples that live together do not have the same law applied to them as a married couple, it is important to get specialist advice about the financial consequences of separating from your partner.

You can find out more about cohabitation in our factsheet which will tell you about claiming maintenance, dividing property and inheriting on death.


Our credentials

What the team is known for: Highly experienced at taking on financial remedy cases. Focuses on settling issues through collaboration or mediation where possible, and through litigation if necessary. Active representing guardians in public law care proceedings. Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): “They are highly skilled and committed professionals who work incredibly hard and diligently for their clients.” “They provided an excellent service in a very straightforward and non-technical way.” Notable practitioners: Richard Ellis (Band 2) enjoys a strong reputation for his public children expertise, and is also skilled at taking on matrimonial finance cases. He is hailed by one commentator as “phenomenally good and a great advocate.” Sharon MacDonald (Band 3) frequently represents high net worth clients on alternative dispute resolution proceedings, such as mediation and collaborative law, associated with complicated finance matters. One client reports: “She was very thorough – all the paperwork was correct down to the minutest detail. She obtained a wonderful result for me.” Jon Toogood (Eminent Practitioner) handles matrimonial finance issues in the context of divorce cases, and is a skilled arbitrator and collaborative lawyer. One client praises his “excellent technical knowledge, very good commercial awareness and very good bedside manner.” Katherine Lauder is a Recognised Practitioner.” Chambers 2017 South West

“What the team is known for: Well-known team in the Oxford market, with substantial experience in divorce and financial remedy matters involving complex assets. Also advises on public law children cases, including those involving allegations of non-accidental injury. Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): “A really good outfit, and universally likeable.” Notable practitioners: Mark Phillips (Band 3) is experienced advising in divorce and financial remedy matters, especially those involving complex assets such as pensions and business interests. One source says of him: “He is very intellectually able, and has a pleasant, persuasive way about him.” Head of the Oxfordshire family team Simon Bassett (Band 3) is particularly active in matrimonial finance cases. One source reports: “I’ve been really impressed with his ability to think creatively around the financial cases, and to look for solutions that aren’t obvious.”” Chambers 2017 Oxford and Surrounds

“Royds Withy King is ‘one of Bath’s leading family law firms’ for collaborative law and mediation, and department head Richard Ellis has ‘a fantastic reputation’ in care proceedings. Also recommended are Sharon MacDonald and Jon Toogood, and newly promoted senior associates Katherine Lauder and Rebecca Stevens.” Legal 500 2016 South West

“Royds Withy King’s group is led by Simon Bassett who is ‘a consistent high performer, particularly in matrimonial finance’. The ‘efficient and committed’ Anne Davies specialises in child-related work” Legal 500 2016 South East


Contact us now to speak to our experienced solicitors about your cohabitation rights and drawing up an agreement that works for both of you.

Jon Toogood [was] very professional, but with lots of support and empathy too. I felt in very safe hands throughout an extremely difficult and traumatic divorce.
Royds Withy King client

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