Cohabitation & Unmarried Couples

Cohabiting & Unmarried Couples

Cohabitation Agreements

There is no such status as a 'common law' husband and wife. In order to protect your rights, we can assist you to prepare a legally binding agreement. These agreements can be entered by two people who are living together or about to start living together. This can assist you and your partner by formally laying out any agreements you have regarding financial matters. The purpose of such agreements is to reduce the doubts and disputes in the event that you and your partner separate.
These types of agreements can cover a range of issues such as: how a property is split, how much each partner contributes to household expenses, explains the ownership of possessions, how the property will be shared on separation etc
Cohabitation Agreements

Relationship Breakdown for Cohabiting Couples – Disputes
Property Claims

These types of disputes can arise where you and your partner are separating and cannot agree on how any property owned will be split between you. In example; where you have both purchased a property and paid different amounts for the deposit. This type of dispute falls under the complex area of trusts and property law. The Trusts of Land and Appointments of Trustees Act 1996 (‘TOLATA’) provides protection and gives the Court power to regulate your share in the property and to decide if the property should be sold.
These types of proceedings are often complex and require experienced legal assistance. We can assist you and will try to save you money by attempting to negotiate matters and reach an agreement.
Relationship Breakdown for Cohabiting Couples

Financial Provision for Children

In most circumstances, a parent can rely on the Child Maintenance service (‘CMS’) to provide financial provisions for children. However, the Court may still order a ‘top-up’ of the maintenance where the other party’s income is very high (above £156,000 gross per annum). It would be for the parent with care to make the application under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989 (‘Schedule 1 proceedings’). We can provide you expert legal advice to assist you to understand this complex area of law and achieve the additional financial support.
This can cover issues such as topping up CMS payments, payments of school fees, lump-sum payments, an allowance for the care of children, purchase or transfer of property for the parent caring for the children etc
Financial Provision for Children


Our experienced team of experts are on hand to assist you with your Cohabitation and Unmarried Couple Disputes
We will NOT charge you to initially discuss your matter. Thereafter, we can discuss a plan of action to help you deal with the issue(s).
We appreciate that disputes with your partner can often be complex. We aim to simplify the matters for you whilst providing support step by step.
We will attempt to negotiate the matters and reach an agreement - to try and avoid unnecessary and costly Court proceedings.
0161 250 7771
07546 785 771
(24 hour helpline)

Expert Legal Assistance – Cohabitation & Unmarried Couples

Cohabitation is when couples live together as partners but are unmarried and not part of a civil partnership. In such circumstances, we appreciate that you will be concerned to understand your rights in the event that disputes arise and your relationship breaks down. We are experienced in providing a service that simplifies these complex matters and supports you throughout the process. The assistance we provide is not limited to couples, as we can also assist with disputes arising between individuals (i.e. friends and family) who have purchased a property together.
We look forward to hearing from you.
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A sensitive approach to your cohabitation agreement 

Get similar legal status to a married couple without tying the knot. Optimal Solicitors look closely at what each of you can agree upon for cohabitation, using compassion and experience to find the best way forward. 

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A fast, thorough service for cohabiting couples 

The mark of a serious relationship can often involve asking difficult questions about the future – including how you’ll support each other now and in the event of a break-up. Like a prenuptial agreement, a cohabitation agreement is a commitment to divide assets, funds, and financial responsibilities as you live together. 

To get it right, you need the perfect combination of practicality and sensitivity. Using our years of experience and incredibly personal approach, our legal team can draw up a declaration of trust for bank accounts, asset ownership, bills, and mortgage payments. We really get to know you as we do so, because we believe that every detail matters. 

We also work quickly so that you can get back to focusing on the present. Once you’re both happy with the terms, you can enjoy your partnership and shared living arrangements to the fullest. 

Make the first move to a solid commitment

From the beginning, we’ll sit down with you and your partner’s legal team to determine what a suitable arrangement would look like. We’ll also stay in contact if you need us, updating the terms with your changing circumstances. Optimal are always here to help. 

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Specialists in a living together agreement 

If you’re married, it’s far easier to separate and take your share of assets, interests, and even future income. Yet unmarried partners don’t have the same options. We’re here to clarify and split your entitlements, deeds, and financial contributions, so that there’s less chance of a disagreement if the relationship breaks down. 

Since more UK couples are seeking to live and raise children together without getting married, Optimal have been working with an increasing number of people like you. Cohabitation agreements are a core part of our work within family law. As such, we can bring other expertise into play, such as aspects of divorce, child maintenance, and financial settlement cases. All of this informs and supports the decisions you’ll reach together. 

As a cohabitation agreement isn’t necessarily legally binding until it has been signed as an official deed, it’s important to get it right. When we assess your agreement, we’ll look at: 

  • Which of you has the right to a shared property, and whether the other can claim a portion of the sale for themselves if both names aren’t on the mortgage. 
  • Who pays for a proportion of the bills, even after one of you leaves the home. 
  • What happens to a joint bank account or pension access if you separate. 
  • Arrangements for children, such as where they may live and who pays a certain amount of child support. 
  • The amount of money and assets that may go to next of kin should one of you die, as well as a death in service benefit from employers. 

We’ve helped thousands of people, just like you, get the best outcome


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Why Optimal Solicitors 

Relationships are never predictable. So it pays to be prepared for any and all eventualities, and to use a legal team that fully grasps the complexity and compromises between you. 

We take pride in giving close, accessible support that never leaves you in doubt around the process, the decisions, and the evidence we require. The more situations you’re able to consider early on, the easier we can prepare a cohabitation agreement that holds up under scrutiny. 

There’s much to consider in a cohabitation agreement – from contracts and financial statements to employment and childcare. Optimal Solicitors explain each aspect simply, so that you and your partner can have confidence in the final decision. 
Finding time for important discussions like this can be tough. That’s why we’re committed to speaking, listening, and sharing information whenever and however you prefer. Let’s find a way to finalise your agreement in the most convenient way possible. 
The last thing you need when working up to a cohabitation agreement is money trouble. Our reputation is built on word of mouth, not expensive referrals – so we’re able to make your claim affordable, starting with a free quote.


There’s every chance you could forge a good agreement on your own, together. But the amount of work – and the scrutiny it demands – can be challenging. Verbal and casual written commitments won’t hold up in court if either of you change your mind later on. Working with a solicitor is your best shot at creating a complete, well-defined legal contract that is signed and passed as a deed.
It’s essentially a series of contracts that have to be signed in writing with an independent witness. They’ll confirm who you both are, and describe how you’ll split any debt, capital, or financial support in the future. The agreement will ask for evidence under full disclosure – in other words, you can’t hide anything around what you own, earn, or have invested in.
Costs can vary around the UK. You’ll be looking at an estimate of at least several hundred pounds, all the way up to £2,000 or more. This figure will increase if there’s more to account for (such as a business, overseas property, or a large estate). However, the price is almost always worth it, since any dispute around entitlements could cost a lot more in the long run.
No – that’s a conflict of interest. One solicitor should represent each partner so that we can achieve a mutual, beneficial interest. We can recommend other reliable firms if you want us to, yet we do suggest that your partner finds their own; whatever they’re comfortable with.
Anything that’s solely in your name cannot be included in the cohabitation agreement. You can’t, for example, ask for cash savings and inherited money. If you were married, this would be different. And it’s for this reason that cohabitation agreements are sometimes the first form of security before you marry – helping you work your way up to greater codependence.
You could have a legally binding contract in as little as a week. Complicated cases may, of course, extend that timeframe, but you shouldn’t face a long wait at all.

Find sensitive, independent legal advice now 

Ready to put the protections in place, and have your relationship recognised in the eyes of the law? Optimal Solicitors are waiting for your call. You’ll receive a dedicated specialist for your case, available whenever you need them. 

0161 250 7771

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Strengthen your commitment to someone

Speak to us about cohabitation guarantees