Resolving financial issues for non-married couples
Unmarried couples have no financial claim against each other in the event they break up, however long they’ve been living together. English law simply doesn’t recognise the concept of a ‘common law’ spouse.
We would always recommend you enter into a co-habitation agreement to set out what would happen to your assets in the event of separation, but what if it's too late for that?
Dividing assets can be a complex process governed by property, trust and contract law in the case of co-habitees. The ownership of individual assets would have to be considered, but just because something – maybe your family home – is in one person’s name doesn’t prevent the other making a claim on it.
If you have children, the parent with whom the children are living can claim maintenance through the Child Maintenance & Enforcement Commission (CMEC, the successor of the Child Support Agency). This provides a fixed sum based purely on earnings. Any additional claim, for capital or top-up maintenance for the children, would have to be made through the court.
We have the expertise within our team of accredited specialists to advise you through the process of separation. You can also call on us to advise on specific issues involving children, such as residence and contact, or to deal with the issues that may arise on the death of one partner.
For more information on resolving financial issues for non-married couples and to start a conversation on how we can help you please contact Mark Rennie, Partner, Family.