Legal Advice for Unmarried Couples on Separation, Division & Protection of Assets

The fastest growing family type in the UK are unmarried couples living together, yet regular research surveys show that couples who are taking the step of living together do not understand the legal implications of doing so.

At Lupton Fawcett we have a team of expert family solicitors that are understanding and sympathetic to your needs, whether you are starting your relationship or if your relationship has broken down. We can provide tailored advice on your particular circumstances so that you understand the implications of moving in with your partner and make sure that your interests are protected or we can advise you on your rights if you are separating from your partner.

Many people believe that couples that cohabit benefit from the same, or similar, legal protection as married couples in the event that they separate. This is often referred to as a “common law marriage”. This is far from the case as there is no such thing as a common law marriage. The reality is that there is very little protection for couples who are living together and unmarried, leaving millions of people at risk of significant financial hardship should they separate or their partner die without leaving a will.

It is possible, and unfortunately relatively common, that a person separating from their partner of many years could find themselves with no financial interest in their home and that their partner has no obligation to support them financially. On the other hand, if a person has been the main or sole financial contributor towards the mortgage, they could find themselves having to hand over half of the equity in the property to their partner in the event that they separate.

If you are thinking of moving in with your partner then you should consider entering into a Cohabitation Agreement, to record what you and your partner think should happen if you are to separate. By entering into a Cohabitation Agreement at the outset of your cohabiting relationship can provide financial security and certainty in the future. Find more information about Cohabitation Agreements here.

If you have separated from your partner, or thinking of separating and want some advice on your options then please contact us

Talk to our Family Solicitors in Confidence

If you wish to talk to one of our family solicitors about protecting the assets of you or your partner, or if you are looking to separate from a relationship with you partner where you jointly own assets but are unmarried, rest assured that our family law team have the legal expertise and experience to help you reach a positive outcome.

Get in touch with our Yorkshire-based team today by calling our Leeds, York or Sheffield offices on 0330 404 6443, by sending us an email or by filling out the enquiry form on this page and letting us know a suitable time to call you back.

Lupton Fawcett is a leading Family law Solicitors firm in Yorkshire with well-established offices of highly experienced solicitors in LeedsSheffield and York.

Our Family Lawyers act regularly for clients across the United Kingdom including Bradford, Birmingham, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Sheffield, York and Nottingham.  We can support your needs wherever you live in England, Wales & Northern Ireland.

For a no obligation initial consultation please either call the office or leave your details using the contact form at the top of this page.  We’ll be happy to help.

I cannot recommend Lupton Fawcett enough, I have just been through a very complicated and high conflict financial divorce but throughout the whole experience Richard Buckley and Chris Burns were always on hand to give reassurance, incredibly sound advice and straightforward explanations when things got difficult. For anyone who finds themselves in a difficult situation I highly recommend this firm, it’s the best decision you’ll make.

Nicola Shuttleworth

I instructed Chris Burns to advise me in relation to various financial issues which arose following the breakdown of my marriage. My case involved a dispute with my former husband over the ownership and occupation of a significant property with adjacent land. Chris steered me through the process of resolving this. Despite resistance from my former husband, Chris advised me with a determined focus and provided me with clear and pragmatic advice throughout the process and achieved my objective within the proceedings.


It’s rare to come across someone like Chris (Burns), absolutely clued up in his area, pragmatic and direct, yet supportive and respectful. As clients, he guided us through the process, quickly picking out what was important, remaining focused on the end game and delivering more than we could have expected. We would not hesitate to recommend Chris.


I would highly recommend Richard (Buckley) at Lupton Fawcett. He understood the difficult and sensitive nature of divorce and was reassuring and professional throughout. He explained the process clearly from the start and was always quick to respond

Charlotte H

'Chris Burns – experienced, capable, easy to talk to, provides an all round specialised knowledge of family work.‘

Legal 500 2021

‘Andy Smith is a fantastic professional and takes pride in his work. He has helped provide guidance on numerous occasions on legal issues to clients of mine and has not engaged in work where it was not needed.‘

Legal 500 2021
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Chris Burns, Head of Family Law, discusses the new divorce laws - Video Thumbnail

Chris Burns, Head of Family Law, discusses the new divorce laws

Why Choose Lupton Fawcett?

Having advised and supported many local families, individuals and businesses, we are proud to offer clients a dedicated service from specialist solicitors who are experts in their field:

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