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Financial Issues for Non-Married Couples

It is important that you know, from the outset, that if you are not married or in a civil partnership you do not have the same rights as a married spouse relating to property and finances – and, sadly, this will be the case no matter how many years you have been living together.  The notion of a “common law spouse” is a misleading myth.  In this, sometimes tricky, area of law, we can advise you on the most advantageous strategy regarding arrangements for your children and division of your property.

Whether the family home was bought in only one of your names or in joint names the rules governing your respective shares in the house are quite different from matrimonial law.  There is no 50/50 starting point. Your respective contributions to the property may be a key factor and may mean that you are entitled to more or less of the property than you may think. The same applies to jointly held bank accounts and other assets.  

In terms of other separately owned assets, however, such as cars, pensions, and ISAs, broadly speaking, they will remain separate property.

The law relating to the children of unmarried couples is the same as for married couples when it comes to the obligation to pay child maintenance and rights to child care and contact.  If you are unmarried you cannot apply for maintenance for yourself from your former partner; however, with skilful representation, many of the financial remedies which can be sought in respect of children can also indirectly benefit you.  This includes lump sum payments, help with school fees, or even the transfer of property, whilst the child is a minor.

Because legal recourse for unmarried couples is limited extra vigilance is needed to ensure you receive your proper financial entitlement.

We promise that we will

  1. Listen to you
  2. Communicate with you
  3. Advise you and, above all
  4. Fight for you

It may be hard now – but we will see you through to the light at the end of the tunnel.

Contact us by phone or email whenever you are ready.

Clive Barker was exceptionally understanding of how I felt and that transferred back into his professional capacity.

Case Ref. T922/2

Clive Barker - very professional and knowledgable. I would consult Clive again if I needed advice in the future. Very efficient service - all staff polite and friendly

Case Ref. L1646/1

Clive and Amanda, thank you, it was an experience I didn’t think I would go through but everything ran as smoothly as it could.

Case Ref. S3377/1

Our family law team

Clive Barker

Solicitor Consultant

Head of Family Law

Clive Barker

Direct Dial:01252 550433

Email Clive Barker

Clive is a Consultant; he qualified as a Solicitor in 1968 and has always specialised in family law.

He is the Head of our Family Law Department and has a particular interest in difficult or complex financial disputes, and property disputes between unmarried couples.

Jennifer Lee


Family Department

Jennifer Lee

Direct Dial:01252 550432

Email Jennifer Lee

Jennifer qualified as a Solicitor in 2014. She specialises in family law and, within that discipline, has particular specialism in disputes over children and domestic violence issues.

Jon Beck

Solicitor/Barrister (New Zealand, non-practising)

Family Department

Jon Beck

Direct Dial:01252 550441

Email Jon Beck

Jon qualified and practised as a Barrister and Solicitor in his native New Zealand, before moving to the UK in 2010, where he has specialised in family law.

Jon has a particular interest in divorces, the separation of unmarried couples involving difficult property disputes and cases with an international flavour. He has earned particular respect for his success handling cases in which a parent seeks to remove a child from the jurisdiction.