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An increasing number of people are choosing to live together without getting married. In fact, there are currently more than four million people cohabiting in England and Wales.

Whilst cohabitees do enjoy legal protection in several areas, they still have significantly fewer rights than couples who are married or in civil partnerships.

This can bring its own set of problems, with many cohabiting couples only discovering how few rights they actually have when their relationship breaks down. This is where disputes can arise.

There are things you can do to protect your position before you start to live together. It is therefore prudent to see a solicitor and take some advice at an early stage. Professional advice can help you avoid the stress and financial loss which are almost inevitable if the relationship subsequently breaks down.

If the relationship does break down, it is important to seek independent legal advice to ensure that disputes are resolved as smoothly and as quickly as possible. Your solicitor’s job is to look after your best interests, providing realistic, professional advice that is right for you and your circumstances, using their knowledge of the law and their professional experience.

This guide covers some of the key points relating to the rights of cohabitees. However, please note that this is for general guidance only, so you should always seek professional advice tailored to your own circumstances before entering into any arrangements.

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