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An unmarried couple who live together and then separate do not have the same rights as married couples. Unless you have a legally binding cohabitation agreement in place, the distribution of assets between you, including property and finances, could be determined by the application of strict property law regardless of overall fairness.

Who gets the house in an unmarried separation?

This depends on the ownership arrangement. If the property is jointly owned, the separating couple would need to agree whether the house is transferred into the name of one of the partners, or if it is to be sold and the value divided between them. In the absence of agreement, an application would need to be made to the court.

A similar principle applies to other belongings such as cars and furniture. A cohabiting couple who will no longer be living together will have to decide between them who will continue to own the items or the sale value of them.

Where there are disagreements about this, our solicitors can help negotiate your side of the dispute and have the outcome written into an official separation agreement.

Should litigation become necessary, our family solicitors will work closely with our Legal 500 ‘Top Tier’ Dispute Resolution team and leading specialist barristers to provide you with expert advice throughout your case, minimising your stress and strengthening your position.

Who gets the children in an unmarried separation?

In most cases, separated parents will come to an agreement between themselves regarding who the child lives with and when the child can see the other parent. However, if required, our solicitors can support you with reaching a child-focused solution with your former partner.

We can also assist with settling we also successfully advise and represent unmarried parents in child-related financial claims, including by making Schedule 1 applications.

For further information on resolving issues with children, visit our child arrangements page. Alternatively, to speak to one of our family solicitors to discuss your options, please call us on 01332 226 174.

With nationally recognised solicitors in both our family and dispute resolution teams, you can rest assured that you are in safe hands.

We regularly and successfully advise cohabitants using property and trust law principles to quantify beneficial interests and claims. This includes making claims under the Trust of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (ToLATA) to achieve a court declaration on property ownership between separated partners.

Our litigation lawyers are highly-experienced in protecting your interests by using notices and injunctive relief, and force or defend orders for the sale of jointly-owned property.

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