Ask Family Law Group

    MKFM is giving you the opportunity to ask the experts at Family Law Group your questions about 'Separation after Cohabitation.'

    All submissions are anonymous and must be received by Friday 8th March to be featured on an upcoming interview and podcast with the experts in Family Law on Monday 18th March at midday.

    Family Law Group are a well-established firm with highly experienced solicitors spanning Relationship Breakdown, Care and Social Services, Children, Relationship Finance, Domestic Abuse and Mediation.

    The interview will be focused around Separation after Cohabitation. You might be wondering if someone wants to remain in the property, can you get an order that the property is transferred into their name? What rights do you have as an unmarried cohabitee? Does the length of the cohabitation affect your rights? Or what if you have children together?

    MKFM will put your questions to Family Law Group during an upcoming interview and you can submit yours using the submission form below by 5pm on Friday 8th March.

    Separation and cohabiting couples

    If you have been cohabiting with your partner without getting married or entering a civil partnership, then there is no set piece of legislation that deals with separation and you may be surprised to know you have no automatic rights. 

    A separation agreement will provide you with certainty and enable you to move forward in life confidently.

    Cohabiting partners may have joint assets and liabilities and should seek to reach agreement over the division of their assets. Family Law Group can assist you in advising what documents need to be shared with your former partner, and what is a fair division of the assets. If an agreement can be reached, the team will draft the terms of the contract to ensure your interests are protected. Prior to entering any separation agreement, it will be necessary for you to make a full disclosure of your assets and liabilities to your partner.  They will be expected to do likewise. 

    If a settlement cannot be agreed amicably, then it may be necessary for you to formulate a civil claim in court against your former partner. For example, this could be to ask the court how the family home should be divided, which may be problematic if the house you cohabited was only in one of your names legally. It is important that you obtain early legal advice in this scenario in order that the best case can be formulated for you, and your interests protected.

    Who does not need a separation agreement?

    Not everyone will benefit from a separation agreement.  If you have been cohabiting, and you had no children together or no shared financial assets such as a house, then you may not require any formal separation agreement. However, if you are unsure, it is always wise to seek some preliminary advice.

    Putting children’s interests first

    The day-to-day caring arrangements for children can be included within the terms of your separation agreement. Family Law Group can ensure all issues are covered, such as holiday contact, paying for school trips, even what happens on Mother’s or Father’s Day. 

    The parent that does not live with the children will normally be obliged to pay child maintenance.  The level of maintenance will depend on their income and how many children there are, as well as how often they keep the children overnight. Family Law Group can advise you on the appropriate level of child maintenance and negotiate terms for inclusion in your separation agreement.

    If an agreement cannot be reached between you both then an application should be made to Child Maintenance Services. However, you should be aware that if Child Maintenance Services must collect payments, it will cost more.  If you are the paying parent, your payment will increase by 20%. If you are the receiving parent, you will receive 4% less. Family Law Group would therefore recommend that you try and reach an agreement.

    For further information, please contact Amanda Brown in the family law team on 07761 827920 or email ab@familylawgroup.co.uk and tune in to MKFM for the latest interview with Family Law Group on Monday 18th March 2024.

    The information in this article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.

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