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There are lots of myths and misunderstandings around the rights of co-habiting couples and ‘common law’ spouses. The truth is, there’s currently no specific law regulating the legal relationship of co-habiting couples; and the term ‘common law spouse’ is not a legally recognised term. 

Once a co-habiting relationship breaks down, there’s usually property and financial issues to sort but much less clarity regarding who should get what. Land and trust laws are there to resolve property issues, however, this is just one solution that’s usually too little, too late. It’s common for one party to be left high and dry, with no stake in any property or pensions, despite years of loyal support and commitment to the family.

Rucklidge’s Family Law can help protect the legal basis of the relationship, by drafting a co-habitation agreement when individuals, and particularly families, move in together. Such an agreement outlines both parties’ wishes concerning property and other assets. We will also advise you how to protect your share of any property with a declaration of trust and make provision for your partner/children in the event of your death with a will.

If you have separated from your co-habitee, Rucklidge’s are well experienced to advise and represent you. You may wish to enter into a Separation Deed to formalise the terms of your separation. We endeavour to resolve disputes by agreement, which can be a cheaper and less distressing process, and with attendance at court unnecessary.

"There is presently no specific law regulating the legal relationship of co-habiting couples; the term 'common law spouse' is not a legally recognised term and upon breakdown of their relationship, all too often, parties are left with land and trust law to resolves property issues; usually this is all too little, a little too late."


How do I start the process?

Rucklidge’s Family Law offer a free 30 minute consultation on all new family law matters. Get in touch now to arrange your free 30 minute consultation.

0113 880 0864

Roscarrs Barn

3 Roscarrs, East Common Lane

Barlow, Selby


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Rucklidge Law Limited is a company registered in England and Wales with the registered number 12098511 and authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority SRA number 666766.  Registered Office: 5 Orchard Close, South Milford, Leeds, LS25 5BQ. Details of the SRA Standards and Regulations can be found at

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