Marriage is a contract which comes with certain rights and obligations, particularly around financial arrangements and issues concerning children. There is no such thing as a ‘common law marriage’, so couples who choose not to marry do not benefit from these rights and obligations and are therefore in a much weaker position when a relationship breaks down.
In particular, there is no automatic right to remain in a home you do not own and for unmarried fathers not named on their child’s birth certificate there is no automatic right to be involved in decisions affecting their life unless the mother agrees or you obtain a parental responsibility order.
To protect your interests, it is important that you and your partner agree arrangements between you and take steps to organise your affairs appropriately. You need to be clear about who has rights over the property you live in, legal responsibility for your children, how your finances should be arranged and whether you want your partner to inherit anything when you die.
At Hatten Wyatt Solicitors in Kent, our experienced family lawyers specialise in providing advice to unmarried couples on a range of matters, including:
- living together agreements, which detail everything from who owns what to responsibility for bills and debts;
- arrangements for children, particularly where one partner wants to be involved in a child’s life through adoption or the grant of parental responsibility;
- organisation of property ownership and bank accounts, to ensure everything is either in joint or individual names, depending on what has been agreed;
- the resolution of a property dispute where there is disagreement about ownership issues or tenancy rights;
- pension sharing where there is uncertainty about your partner’s entitlement;
- inheritance rights and making a will to ensure your wishes are carried out;
- compromise agreements to formally severe ties if your relationship breaks down;
- financial arrangements; and
- disputes about children.
Adopting a constructive approach, our family law experts can help you organise your affairs in the most sensible and secure way possible. Where there is disagreement about the arrangements that should be made, we can arrange a family mediation or adopt a collaborative law approach. If necessary, we can also refer matters to the family court.
Advising families throughout Kent and beyond
We have offices in Maidstone, Gravesend, Tonbridge, Chatham and Tenterden where we can meet you to discuss your requirements.
We can also offer meetings by skype for clients who have to travel extensively or who now live abroad. In exceptional circumstances, home visits can also be arranged.
Fixed cost initial appointment / Legal aid
We offer an initial appointment to discuss your requirements from £95 plus VAT. Legal aid may also be available in certain cases and is normally always available for defending care proceedings and taking steps to protect against domestic violence or child abuse.
Get in touch
If you need help with a family law matter, please get in touch to see how we can help. You can call us on 01474 351199 or use our contact form and we will call you.