As the marriage rate in England and Wales continues to fall, the number of unmarried but cohabiting couples is on the rise. But there is currently no law in England and Wales which recognises the needs of a cohabiting couple if their relationship breaks down as there is with divorce. In the event of a property dispute, trust and land law is applied instead.
There are, however, laws concerning the children of cohabiting couples who separate. The law makes no distinction between married and unmarried parents when deciding such issues as who the child (or children) will live with and how often they will see the other parent.
The key legal difference between married and cohabiting couples is the financial provisions the court can make for the other party when they separate. These are much more limited for cohabiting couples.
To get some advice about how to proceed in these circumstances, get in touch and one of our team can talk you through your legal options.