Cohabitation Dispute Solicitors

Cohabitation Dispute Solicitors

If you are involved in a dispute with your cohabiting partner, it can be worrying, particularly if you have concerns about whether you have the right to stay in your shared home. While cohabiting partners have fewer rights than married couples, you are generally entitled to keep the assets in your name, and you may also be able to make a claim in respect of the property that you live in.

Our cohabitation dispute solicitors at Watkins have wide experience of resolving disagreements and protecting unmarried individuals during the ending of a relationship. We know that this will be a difficult time for you and our family lawyers will provide the specialist support and representation you need.

We are accredited by the Law Society’s Advanced Family Law panel and hold membership of Resolution, the family law group committed to resolving disputes with minimal conflict. We will always attempt to deal with matters non-contentiously wherever possible, finding solutions through negotiation and alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation.

We routinely deal with complex situations, including those involving children, property and financial disputes. Taking legal advice early on in a disagreement can prevent matters from escalating and make it easier to find an acceptable solution.

For tailored advice and representation, contact our expert cohabitation disputes solicitors Nicola Harvey and  Beverley Watkins on 0117 939 0350 or email

Alternatively, you can use our contact form to request a call back, and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.

Our cohabitation disputes services

Our cohabitation dispute solicitors deal with a full range of matters, including:

  • Advice on your cohabiting rights and help with cohabitation dispute resolution on separation.
  • Separation agreements for cohabiting couples
  • TOLATA claims
  • Arrangements for children
  • Domestic abuse

Our cohabitation law services

Advice on your cohabiting rights and on separation

We can provide a full range of advice on cohabitation rights and advise you on the best way to deal with matters during a separation. Our cohabitation dispute solicitors can negotiate with your former partner on your behalf to try and finalise matters, including separating your finances and dealing with property and debts.

Separation agreements for cohabiting couples

A separation agreement can help couples deal effectively with matters during this difficult time. It can set out how different areas of your shared lives will be handled, including property, assets, debts and children.

A comprehensive agreement can reduce conflict and stress and allow you both to focus on moving forward. Our cohabitation dispute solicitors have extensive experience in drafting and negotiating separation agreements and we can represent you in putting a robust contract in place to help you through the ending of your relationship.

TOLATA claims

If your home is in the sole name of your partner but you contributed towards it on the understanding that you would share in the ownership of it, you may have a valid claim under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996.

Where necessary, we can ask the court to decide on your rights, including what share of the property each of you owns and whether the property should be sold.

Arrangements for children

If you and your partner have children, you are both required to continue to support them. You can agree on how you will divide their time between you both, and we can ask the court to put this into a binding child arrangements order.

Where necessary, we can negotiate with your partner or their solicitor to try and agree on the right arrangements. If an agreement cannot be reached, you will usually be required to consider mediation unless domestic abuse is a factor. A mediator will explain how mediation can help and you can choose to go through the mediation process to try and agree on suitable arrangements.

If this is not successful, we can represent you in making an application to the court for an order.

Domestic abuse

If you are in an abusive situation, we can take immediate steps to protect you. Our team has wide experience of handling domestic abuse situations, and we will do everything necessary to keep you and your children safe.

We know how hard it can be to take the first step. If you contact us, you will find us understanding and responsive. Where necessary, we will take emergency action.

We can secure an injunction such as a non-molestation order and if you need a safe space in your home, we can ask the court for an occupation order.

If you are in a difficult situation, we urge you to seek legal advice as soon as you can. Our team consists of many domestic abuse experts, and you can trust us to provide the protection and support you need.

Frequently asked questions

What is a cohabitation dispute?

A legal dispute between cohabiting couples can involve a range of issues, including how financial matters are dealt with during their time together and how issues such as assets, debts, property and arrangements for children will be managed following the breakdown of a relationship.

Do cohabitation agreements hold up in court?

Some couples may have a cohabitation agreement in place setting out how issues will be dealt with between them, including in the event that they separate. If a cohabitation agreement is correctly drafted and executed as a deed, the courts consider it to be a legally binding contract. It is important that the following criteria exist:

  • Both of you made full financial disclosure to each other before entering into the agreement
  • The agreement is fair
  • Neither of you were pressured or influenced in any way to make you sign
  • You both took independent legal advice before signing

If you have a cohabitation agreement in place and your relationship has ended, we can represent you in ensuring that the terms are adhered to and that you receive all of the assets to which you are entitled.

Am I entitled to half the house if we’re not married?

Generally, the assets of unmarried individuals belong to whomever they are registered to or to the individual who purchased and owns them. If your property is registered in your joint names, you are entitled to a share.

If you own the property as joint tenants with your partner, you would usually split the sale proceeds 50:50. If you own the property as tenants in common, then a trust document will exist stating what share each of you owns.

If the property is in your partner’s sole name, the situation can be more complicated. You would only be able to make a claim if you can show that it was intended that you own a share of the property, even though your name is not on the title.

For example, you may have agreed to pay the mortgage or to pay the other household bills so that your partner could pay the mortgage, or you paid for extensive renovations or an extension to the property on the understanding that you would have an interest in it.

If you believe that you are entitled to a share in a property, you are advised to speak to an expert cohabitation rights solicitor as soon as possible. If you call us, we can discuss the situation with you and advise you of your options.

What are my rights if my partner leaves the house but stops paying the bills?

If your property is jointly owned and your partner leaves, they are still entitled to their share. If you have a mortgage, the lender can pursue either of you if the monthly payments are not made.

Ideally, you need to reach an agreement with your former partner as soon as possible so that your finances can be separated. We can assist you with this if necessary, identifying possible solutions and negotiating on your behalf.

What our clients say about us

“Thank you very much for handling my case so wonderfully, I have felt supported and in very safe hands.  You have been so professional, informative and prompt, at a time when that is exactly what I needed. I really do appreciate it."

Contact our cohabitation disputes solicitors in Bristol, Bath, Hereford and Evesham

For tailored advice and representation, you can contact our expert cohabitation disputes solicitors Beverley Watkins or Nicola Harvey on 0117 939 0350 or email

Alternatively, you can also use our contact form to request a call back, and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.