December 2021 | Benrina Browne


In the UK, there is currently no English law which deals specifically with the issues which can arise on the breakdown of such a relationship (except for the provisions in land law, inheritance law and the Children Act).

The commonly used term a ‘common law’ wife or husband does not exist in law. You are a cohabitee with no ascertained rights, except where there has been some planning to document the understanding and intentions at the start of the relationship (but certainly at some point before the breakdown).

One form of protection is the use of a cohabitee agreement which is a contract between the parties detailing ownership and the respective rights of each party. Cohabitee agreements can also be used to establish care arrangements for children, what assets the parties entered the relationship with and how those are to be dealt with in the event of break up. It can also contain arrangements for the day-to-day financial running of the home, who is responsible for what.


Our lawyers are also available to provide expert advice and assistance on these and other subject areas that we handle, and can be contacted on 01279 598 008 / 07958 571 391, or on