Cohabiting couples do not enjoy the same rights as married couples

I’m a proud member of Resolution, a community of family justice professionals who work with families and individuals to resolve issues in a constructive way.

Resolution membership is about the approach I take to my work. This means that as a Resolution member, I will always seek to reduce or manage any conflict and confrontation, support and encourage families to put the best interests of any children first and act with honesty, integrity and objectivity.

I know from my 5 years working as a family law professional, that clients reach the best outcomes when they are helped to understand and manage the potential long-term financial and emotional consequences of decisions. This is why I use experience and knowledge to guide my clients through the options available to them.

As a Resolution member, I have signed up to a Code of Practice that will demonstrate to clients the approach I will always take. The Code promotes a constructive approach to family issues and considers the needs of the whole family, in particular the best interests of children.


If you decide to work with me, this means:

  • Listening to you, being honest with you and treating you with respect.
  • Explaining all the options and giving you confidence to make the right decisions.
  • Helping you focus on what’s important in the long-term.
  • Helping you balance financial and emotional costs with what you want to achieve.
  • Working with others to find the right approach and the best solutions for you.
  • Managing stress in what can be an already stressful situation.


Because I’m signed up to the Resolution Code, I work with a network of other like-minded professionals, including mediators, financial planners and family consultants, to make sure I’m helping my clients find the right approach for them.

I am also backing Resolution’s campaign to improve rights for cohabiting couples. Although it is very common these days for couples to live together without getting married – there are currently 5.9 million cohabiting couples – unfortunately cohabiting couples do not enjoy the same rights as married couples.

This is the case regardless of whether the couple had been living together for 24 months or 24 years, or even whether they had children or property together. The concept of a ‘common-law’ marriage is simply a myth, however it is a myth which is believed by approximately half of the population.

Unlike married couples, there are no automatic rights to the cohabiting partner’s property on their death, no automatic entitlement to inherit their estate, even if they have children together, and also no tax reliefs and exemptions that spouses and civil partners enjoy, including pensions.

Furthermore, the lack of a legal framework relating to cohabiting couples upon separation often results in hardship. The current law treats cohabiting couples at the end of their relationship as two unrelated individuals. There is no structure in place to determine a fair outcome for former partners taking account of the financial or other contributions they may have made to their shared lives.

In 2007 the Law Commission recommended legislative reform to entitle cohabiting couples to apply for financial relief on separation in certain circumstances together with reform of certain existing legislation applying on death. In a recent poll, more than 75% of MPs agreed that legislation should be introduced to afford similar financial rights to long-term cohabiting couples upon separation as are afforded to married couples.

Last year Resolution released its Manifesto for Family Law calling for the introduction of some rights for cohabiting couples when they separate. As a family law professional and a member of Resolution I am keen to back this campaign, as I believe in there being fair and lasting outcomes when relationships breakdown.