MG Legal Solicitors 
Longridge: 01772 783314 Garstang: 01995 602129 Lancaster: 01524 581306 Lytham: 01253 202452  
A document called a "Cohabitation Agreement" with a pen and glasses resting on top.  Speak to our Solicitors in Lancaster today about protecting your partner on cohabitation.
In figures released in November 2017 the Family-aimed legal group, Resolution, stated that the numbers of people in the UK co-habiting had doubled from 1.5 million in 1996 to over 3.3 million in 2017; a number which has surely risen since that date. Resolution also surveyed a group of 2,000 individuals, which showed results of a huge misunderstanding of the law and their rights as co-habiting couples. For example, one common misconception, was the principle of 'Common-Law Marriage'; for their full results see their article, here
'Common-Law Marriage' is a legal principle which exists in only a small amount of jurisdictions, whereby co-habiting couples are granted rights under the law, as if they are effectively married i.e. they are arranging their affairs as a married couple would and they are married for all intents and purposes, except without the legally binding document or religious service. 
Unfortunately for many couples, England abolished the principle of 'Common-Law Marriages' in 1753 by way of the Marriage Act 1753. The Act also applied to Wales, but due to the way that law-making bodies were established around this time, Scotland had independent law-making capacity, so they chose not to introduce the same requirements. The Act introduced minimum age requirements for marriage, among other stipulations, which led to some couples crossing the Scottish border to the now well-known Gretna Green, and other villages along the border, to get married under Scottish Law. 
So, to help co-habiting couples under their rights, our expert team at MG Legal have taken the time to answer some of the most common questions we receive from co-habiting couples. If you need some advice, take a read below, or contact our expert Solicitors in Lancaster today on 01524 581 306 or email

Our house is in my partner's sole name. What does this mean if we decide to separate? 

What will happen to your property will depend on how you own it. If you own it as joint tenants, the presumption is that you each own a 50% share. If you own the property as tenants in common, the presumption is that you each own the share specified when the property was purchased, whether that be 50/50 or another share, set out in a Declaration of Trust. In these cases, the presumption is that you each own the share agreed at the time of purchase. 
If you want advice about how a property is divided on separation, you should seek advice from a Family Law Solicitor. 

I do not have a Pension but my partner does. Can I make a claim? 

Before death, a person usually nominates what they want to happen with their pension when they die. Often, our Solicitors in Lancaster find that even when pensions are not nominated, the trustees of the pension scheme will use their discretion to decide who to pay the pension to. To prevent any issues with this not being your partner, you should ensure your nominate any pensions you can, or make a Will dealing with those assets that cannot be nominated. 

If my partner dies without a Will, will I inherit everything? 

Under the Rules of Intestacy, a co-habiting partner is not recognised as having a right to benefit from an estate. However, if you have children with your partner, the children would be entitled to benefit first. Many people believe they are ‘common law’ spouses with their partner, as they have lived together for so long that they just presume the law recognises their relationship. Whether it’s fair or not, this isn’t the case, and you should seek advice about making a Will to ensure you make sufficient provision for your partner. Contact our Wills Solicitors in Lancaster today to discuss this – call 01524 581 306 or email

Why choose MG Legal Solicitors? 

No hidden fees.

Transparent fees. 

Our solicitors offer their services on a clear fixed-fee or hourly rate, and accept personal injury claims on a no win no fee basis. 
We are the experts

We are the experts. 

Here at MG Legal, our team of friendly solicitors are fully-qualified and have over thirty years' experience in helping clients just like you. 
Regular Communication

Regular communication. 

When you work with MG Legal, your solicitor will be in regular contact so you have step-by-step updates. 
Multiple Office locations.

Multiple office locations. 

If you are looking to instruct our solicitors, we have offices in Garstang, Longridge, Lancaster and Lytham for your convenience. 

Can myself and my partner protect ourselves now legally so that if we split up there is an agreement in place? 

Thankfully, there are some legal methods of protection for each other available for co-habiting couples. For example, you could chose one of the following methods: 

Co-habitation Agreement 

This can cover a range of provisions, such as finances, property, your child care arrangements and arrangements for pets. These can be made completely bespoke and would be tailored to the needs of you and your partner. You should seek advice from a Family Law Solicitor to discuss a co-habitation agreement. 

Declaration of Trust 

This Declaration covers the property owned by you both, and allows couples who are perhaps purchasing jointly but in unequal contributions to obtain back what they put in when the property is sold. It could also cover contributions made by other people i.e. family members. For expert advice on entering into a Declaration of Trust with your partner, we would suggest speaking to both our Conveyancing Solicitors in Lancaster on 01524 581 306


Whilst this would not help a couple when they split as the provisions of a person's Will are only effective once they have passed away, as co-habiting partners are not necessarily entitled to make a claim under the Rules of Intestacy, it is important that co-habiting couples have a Will in place, which names their partners as a beneficiary (if this is how they would want their estate to pass on their death). For expert advice on making Wills, contact our Wills Solicitors in Lancaster on 01524 581 306 or email
If you find yourself in a situation where you are co-habiting but have decided not to get married, or you are entering into a new co-habitation, it would be wise to seek independent legal advice to make sure that you are protected. For first-class advice, contact our expert Solicitors in Lancaster on 01524 581 306 or email
This article was published on 23 April 2018, and updated on 20 December 2023. 
Share this post:

Leave a comment: 


Our site uses cookies. For more information, see our cookie policy. Accept cookies and close
Reject cookies Manage settings