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Cohabitation | Myths Debunked

When purchasing a property with a partner, the last thing on either party’s mind will be a separation. But what will happen if you do separate?

There is a myth that there is a rule or law regarding common law husbands and wives. The reality is, this does not exist.


The law relating to couples that are not married is the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996. You do not particularly need to know the ins and outs of this Act, however, it must be known that you do not automatically have rights like a married couple would do – even if you have lived together for a considerable period of time and even if you have children together.


It is becoming even more popular that couples are choosing not to marry, and therefore it is becoming even more important that couples are aware, understand and address the issues that affect unmarried couples differently.

This may include issues such as:

  1. Purchasing property together;

  2. If one person owns a property;

  3. Parental responsibility relating to children;

  4. Child maintenance

Even medical emergencies and death may be complicated. If you die and you have separate bank accounts, your parent will not legally be able to access your bank account. State pensions are not automatically passed on to your partner either.


To make sure that you and your partner’s interests are protected, you may wish to consider making a Will and Lasting Powers of Attorney.


Your Will is your legacy and a way to protect your loved ones when you die. If you do not prepare well, the consequences can be expensive, and it will make it an even more difficult time for your loved ones.

This information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and each relationship breakdown requires careful consideration in our view by a person fully qualified before decisions are made and before you embark on a certain course of action.


Emma Aslett

Penn Chambers Solicitors

0207 183 4595


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