Living Together

Deciding to live together as a couple is a big step in a relationship, so it is worth taking advice on your rights and responsibilities early to address any potential issues that might occur in the event that your relationship breaks down. The rules are different for cohabiting couples than for those in a marriage or civil partnership and could make a significant difference to your financial future if you are not properly advised. It is also important you understand that there is no concept in law, despite what you may have heard, of a ‘common-law marriage’.

Our team of experienced family lawyers can help you draft a living together or cohabitation agreement, declaration of trust or prenuptial agreement that outlines what you want to happen with regards to property ownership, investments and savings and any issues with children.

We act for both opposite and same sex couples in close liaison with our Dispute Resolution department, which handles property disputes for unmarried couples.

Living together agreements

If you are not planning on marrying but would like to protect your rights should your relationship break down, then you should consider a living together agreement.

If you live with your partner but are unmarried, then no matter how long you have been together, you do not have the same rights as married couples and you may have little legal protection if your relationship breaks down. Most couples who live together do not have a written agreement governing their rights, but virtually all of them should.

Declaration of trust

Buying a property together is a big commitment and, while you may not foresee a future breakdown in your relationship, there is always a risk that this could happen and lead to a dispute over your home and your share of its ownership.

At Coodes, our family lawyers can help you protect yourself both when purchasing a property or if you already own your property. We can provide specialist advice on what is known as a ‘Declaration of Trust’, which can set out the initial contributions you are to make (or have made) and details such as what happens to your shares in the event that you fund certain ‘expenditure’ in relation to the property, including mortgage payments, improvements or endowment policies. Doing allows for you to have ‘floating shares’ that reflect your personal contribution to the property rather than ‘fixed shares’ which do not. We can also make it clear what records, statements and receipts of expenditure should be kept so that the proceeds upon a sale can be calculated accurately apportioned.

Speak confidentially to one of our divorce and family lawyers for guidance about the best path for you, by calling us now on 01726 874 700 or email


Sarah Evans

Head of Family

Elise Alma


Angela Briggs

Chartered Legal Executive

Anna Barrick


Bradley Kaine


News & Events

Key contact

Sarah Evans

Head of Family

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