The Law and Living Together as Unmarried Parents
Many unmarried parents who live together in England and Wales are not aware of the legal implications. A common misconception is that unmarried couples who have lived together for long periods of time, or have children together, are considered ‘common-law husband and wife’. This is actually not true.
A lot of unmarried parents live a happy, stable life, just like many married couples. The legal problems arise, however, in the event of separation, as unmarried couples don’t have the same legal protection as married couples.
Whether you’re married or unmarried, our Family Solicitors can work with you to create an agreement between you and your partner that acts in everyone’s interests, adding security and stability in the event of separation.
Our national team of Family Solicitors are experts in helping clients with legal matters such as Parental Responsibility, finances, property rights, and inheritance.
For initial advice call our Family Law Solicitors and we will help you.
Living together is a big step to take in a relationship, and increasingly, it’s something more and more couples are doing before even getting married. This is known as cohabiting.
Something more and more unmarried couples are doing is creating a Cohabitation Agreement. This is also sometimes known as a Living Together Agreement and is legally binding in England and Wales.
A Cohabitation Agreement helps protect things like:
- The interests of your children, should the relationship end, ensuring they are adequately provided for
- Managing financial expectations – Formalising what is expected from each of you financially
- Reducing conflict – If the relationship does end, there’ll be fewer things to argue over
- Shares in Property – If you jointly own a property, you can divide the equity straight down the middle, or have it in writing exactly how much of the property is your share.
Our Family Solicitors can help you draw up a Cohabitation Agreement so that if you separate, the interests of you, your partner and your children will be protected.
Parental Responsibility for Unmarried Fathers/Same-Sex Partners
It’s unlikely that you have any Parental Responsibility if you are a father or same-sex partner who was never married to the child’s mother and do not appear on the child’s birth certificate.
Parental Responsibility means you have the right to be involved in decisions such as the child’s education and medical care. One way to obtain Parental Responsibility is to re-register your child’s birth in joint names.
If you’re unsure if you have Parental Responsibility, speak to one of our Family Solicitors, who will be happy to offer initial advice.
We can explore your options with you, particularly in cases where you and your partner both have Parental Responsibility but are locked in a dispute that needs to be decided by an Order of the Court. This is often the case where parents cannot agree on child arrangements after separation.
Child Maintenance if Unmarried Parents Separate
Whether you are married or unmarried, as parents, you share responsibility for providing for your children. Therefore, applications for Child Maintenance are open to both married and unmarried people.
Child Maintenance applications are assessed and enforced by The Child Maintenance Service. The first step in getting Child Maintenance is to contact them to arrange Child Maintenance.
How We Can Help You
With so much to think about as parents, let alone, unmarried parents, legal protection can fall under the radar.
Our specialist Family Solicitors can explain everything from Parental Responsibility to obtaining a Cohabitation Agreement and are always happy to help you understand your rights, and protect the interests of your children.
For initial legal advice call our Family Law and Divorce Solicitors
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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Bristol, Cardiff, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.