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.

Mr Richard Buckley of Lupton Fawcett ,gave me excellent advice and help recently with a legal document .In these times when little face to face contact is possible he was always available on the phone and made the experience trouble free and very satisfactory

Clare White

"I instructed Chris Burns to advise me in relation to my divorce and financial issues following the breakdown of my marriage. One of the key issues in the case was whether a long period of cohabitation would be factored in when considering the length of the marriage and the financial settlement I would be entitled to. During the course of the case, Chris provided me with clear and consistent advice and was able to deal robustly with the other party. I achieved an outcome I was very happy with and was very pleased with the advice and service levels which Chris and his team provided me with."


Richard Buckley represented me in, what turned out to be, highly contested court proceedings . Richard was very professional, knowledgeable and meticulous in his approach and he fought my corner when necessary. My divorce was not an easy one; it was very stressful but Richard always listened, put me at ease and took time to explain everything to me, making sure I understood his advice. He is very good at listening and keeping me on track. Richard doesn’t make me feel like a number, but a valued client. If anyone is looking for a family solicitor, I would not hesitate in recommending Richard.

Mr D Pickles

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.


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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

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