16 August 2021
Cohabitation: advice for starting again financially after a break up
Commentary by Catherine Costley, a divorce solicitor and partner in the Family department at Payne Hicks Beach, on starting again financially after a break up. Putting the emotional upheaval of a divorce or split aside, Catherine sees first hand in her role advising on high net worth splits how difficult the practical aspects of separation can be and that they are even more complex when couples are not married and cohabiting. First published online at the Refinery29 UK on 10 August 2021.
There is no legal framework to protect cohabiting couples and according to the Office for National Statistics, it’s the fastest growing family type. However, unlike married couples, cohabiting couples have relatively few protections if things do go wrong. Catherine says “In the UK there is this idea of a ‘common law man or wife’ - that if you live together for long enough as though you are married you will be protected but you do not have the legal rights that you would have if you were married or in a civil partnership.”
For those thinking of leaving their partner and who are not married, Catherine sets out how they can prepare themselves financially. Catherine says, “Remain practical even when you feel that your emotions are running wild,” and adds, “There are steps you have to take and you need to treat it as a logistical matter.”
Catherine is a specialist family lawyer advising on all aspects of private family law with particular experience in divorce, civil partnerships, cohabitation and complex financial matters often with an international element. She regularly advises on financial provision for unmarried parents under Schedule 1 of the Children Act and in relation to private children law issues such as contact disputes and cases involving the permanent relocation of children. Catherine has rapidly built a strong reputation among her clients and peers for her sensible and effective handling of cases. Clients praise her attention to detail and enjoy the confidence she inspires.
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