Collaborative Law Service - Finding Resolutions


Cohabitation is becoming the fastest growing family type. However, even if you have been cohabiting for a number of years, this does not afford you any legal protection with regards to financial or property matters if the relationship breaks down.

Cohabitation Breakdown

Unlike married couples, the law does not provide the same level of protection for cohabitants. Even if parties have lived together for a number of years there is no recognition of a “common law” marriage. As such, claims are limited to property law claims and certain claims for children.


Often issues can arise with regards to the interest, or extent of an interest, in the property which the parties have used as their home.

When considering how to deal with a property following the breakdown of a relationship, the first step is to determine the ownership of the property and whether this is held as joint tenants, tenants in common or by one party only. This is usually recorded at the Land Registry, by a Declaration of Trust or a in a Co-habitation Agreement.

However, there are various ways that make it possible to obtain a beneficial interest in a property even if you are not the legal owner. For instance, if you have paid towards the upkeep of the house, contributed to the mortgage or assisted with home improvements on the understanding that you would acquire an interest in a property, then it is possible to claim a beneficial interest.


As well as claiming Child Maintenance, claims can be brought under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989. The legislation permits both married and unmarried parents to obtain financial provision for their children following the breakdown of a relationship This can be in addition to Child Maintenance which is calculated by the Child Maintenance Service.

Before making an order, there will be consideration of a number of factors including the income and financial resources of the parents together with the financial needs of the child.

The Court have the power to make a number of orders, these include:

  • Property adjustment orders- Whilst the child is dependent, the Court has the power to make an order requiring a settlement or transfer of property to be made for the benefit of a child. As such, in some circumstances, a party can remain in the family home, or a new property, until the child is independent.
  • A lump sum order- The Court can award a lump sum in favour of the child to meet capital expenses such as furnishing and equipping a home, nursery costs or for the resident parent to purchase a suitable car.
  • Periodical payments- These are regular payments made for the benefit of the child to cover, for instance, education or vocational training.

The family team are ranked in both Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500:

Compact and experienced team which regularly acts for high net worth individuals across the South West, and is increasingly active advising on international family cases. Highly thought of for its work on financial remedy matters together with related tax and pension issues. Also handles private children matters, including child and parental alienation cases.
Chambers & Partners 2018

Mogers Drewett LLP’s team is led by Victoria Strode, who handles a broad range of family matters, and specialises in financial matters involving agricultural and farming disputes. Collaborative practitioner Rebecca Silcock has strong expertise in financial disputes, particularly those involving businesses, pensions and trusts. The team also assists on pre-nuptial and cohabitation agreements and has experience of advising on private children law matters including removal from the jurisdiction, residence and contact issues.
Legal 500 2017

Next steps

If you require our cohabitation advice, please get in touch with our family team for a no obligations conversation, or alternatively make an appointment to meet with a member of our team. You can speak to us on 0800 533 5349 or reach us on email at

Meet the team

Victoria Strode
Victoria Strode
Head of Department & Associate Solicitor
Simon Walker
Simon Walker
Elizabeth Dowler
Elizabeth Dowler

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