The breakdown of a relationship often has the same implications on finances and child arrangements as the ending of a marriage. However, when the couple are not married, the law can be more difficult to navigate.
Working with us, you can have absolute confidence that you will have an expert team dedicated to achieving the very best outcome for you and your family:
- Our first meeting is free, no matter how long it takes to make sure we completely understand your circumstances and what you want to achieve.
- Everything we talk about throughout the time we spend working together will always be totally confidential.
- Our teams are top ranked by the legal directories, so you can be sure that you are being guided by specialist experts in all areas of family law and cohabitation disputes.
- Our partners and lawyers have decades of experience, an excellent reputation and over the years have built up strong relationships with other lawyers, Judges and professional bodies.
- We have teams in Beverley, Lincoln and York, and work with clients across East and North Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and the East Midlands.
Many cohabiting couples make the mistake of assuming that, because they have lived together for a long time, they have the same claims to property and assets as married couples do. Currently, despite many appeals for change, “Common Law” marriage is not recognised by law. This means that, should your relationship break down, you could find yourself at a severe disadvantage financially and it is important to seek specialist advice to find out where you stand.
Offering expert advice and guidance, we will recommend a path that helps you take control of the situation and leads to a resolution that works for the situation you find yourself in.
Whatever your reason for coming to us, our first step is always to listen with patience so that we understand what has happened before and the issues that need to be resolved.
Using our knowledge and experience we guarantee that we will be able to give you a range of options, with a detailed overview of the likely process, outcomes, timescales and costs.
The recommendations we make will always be specific to you, so whether you are dealing with issues relating to children, finances, property, or something else, our family team will help you come up with a plan that works.
What we do and where we specialise
If you are looking to move in together without wishing to marry, it is important to have a clear and formal agreement to set out both parties’ interests and intentions is important to safeguard your assets and protect against a future dispute should the relationship breakdown. We provide specialist advice on cohabitation agreements, also known as “living together” agreements, and also declarations of trust to reflect each party’s intentions and contributions to the purchase of a property.
If your relationship breakdowns you may require a separation agreement to deal with the financial and other issues that need to be resolved. There may be a property dispute in respect of a party’s legal or beneficial interest in a property, perhaps arising from contributions that have been made and it is important to take specialist advice as to your legal rights.
We are one of the few family law firms specialising in advising on these types of claims and we would strongly recommend that you consult a lawyer who has experience dealing with the civil proceedings which can arise with this type of claim, particularly as there can be significant cost consequences if matters are not address appropriately from the outset.
We specialise in providing advice on the following issues:
- Declarations of trust
- Cohabitation and separation agreements
- Claims of unmarried couples, including those who were engaged
- Property disputes regarding legal and beneficial interests and contributions
- Financial claims on behalf of children, where parents are unmarried, known as Schedule One claims
Based in Beverley, Lincoln and York, and advising clients throughout Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, the East Midlands and nationwide, our team has the expertise to provide clear and practical guidance on your rights.
How we work
The first stage for us is to meet with you, free of charge, to listen and understand the situation you are in.
While some firms limit an initial discussion to 30 minutes, we will speak to you for as long as it takes us to build a complete picture of what the solution might look like.
When we have that clarity, we will outline the process, explaining the likely timescales, key milestones and costs, as well as the team that will support you. The team will always be led by a partner, aided by more junior team members. We know from prior experience that this will give you the right mix of skills, knowledge and value.
Litigation is not always the answer and with these types of disputes parties are encouraged to try other forms of alternate dispute resolution known as “ADR” which can include mediation.
A voluntary and confidential process, mediation provides an open forum to discuss options face-to-face with the benefit of an impartial mediator, and without being legally bound to any statement, unless you choose otherwise. This freedom makes it easier for people to find a solution themselves, rather than it being dictated by a court.
As mediation also encourages you to work together to find solutions together, it will help you communicate effectively with each other in the future; this is particularly beneficially where children are involved. We have qualified mediators in our team who can give you the right support and guidance, as well ensuring complete control of your solution, from start to finish.
Our family lawyers are also supported by colleagues from other teams to can provide complementary advice on topics such as wills, trusts, inheritance tax and property. You can rest assured that we will have your best interests at heart, from start to finish, in a way that gives you comfort and control over the issues to be resolved.
Our experience and credentials
We have recently provided advice in respect of:
- A cohabitee’s rights regarding wealth protection, where a dynastic family business is involved and utilising a multi-specialist approach with our Private Client team.
- A cohabitee’s rights where there were significantly unequal contributions of wealth and inherited assets in the relationship.
- A defendant in civil litigation proceedings relating to a claim issued by her former partner for a beneficial interest in her property and business; a case involving assets and witness evidence from Ukraine, with issues surrounding the former partner’s breach of fiduciary duties with the claim being successfully defended.
- Negotiating a Separation Agreement involving the sale of farm and land where the couple were unmarried.
- A mother negotiating a Schedule One financial settlement on behalf of children where the parties were unmarried, against a father with substantial assets. The agreement included child maintenance and provision for housing and a car.
Recent feedback direct from clients includes:
- “Professional, efficient and the advice provided was excellent. I felt very comfortable discussing personal matters and the communication with the other party was assertive and very professional. Despite the challenges of the Coronavirus the service and communication were faultless.”