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Home » Family Law Services » Cohabitation Disputes

Cohabitation Disputes

Disputes between cohabiting couples often arise in the absence of a pre-established agreement

Cohabitation Dispute Solicitors

Disputes between cohabiting couples often arise when there is no pre-established agreement. This is particularly common among unmarried couples. When a cohabitation agreement is not present, a court application might be necessary to address the dispute. However, it should be noted that there is a significant gap in the law, there is no specific, applicable legislation to address unmarried relationship breakdown. This is why a cohabitation agreement addressing all issues is highly advisable.

With over 30 years of experience in family law, Goodwins Family Law Solicitors has a proven track record in handling cohabitation disputes, including those involving high net worth assets. Here are just some of the ways we can help:

Sensitive Approach
Every cohabitation case is treated with sensitivity, keeping you informed and prepared throughout proceedings.

Efficient Resolution
Our primary aim is to resolve issues efficiently and fairly, minimising disruptions in the lives of you and your children.

Tailored Legal Strategies
Each relationship is unique, which is why our solicitors craft tailored legal strategies that work for your specific situation.

Expert Negotiation and Mediation
We are dedicated to negotiating settlements outside the courtroom, often resulting in money and time saved for all parties involved.

What is a cohabitation dispute?

Cohabitation disputes among unmarried partners typically occur when there is no cohabitation agreement to refer to in the event of a relationship breaking down.

Key issues often include:

Property Ownership
Determining who has the right to remain in the home or claim a share of its value can be contentious.

Financial Contributions
Disagreements over who is entitled to what, based on the financial contributions made during the relationship.

Children’s Matters
Negotiations about the children’s living arrangements and financial support.

Joint Debts
Questions over who shoulders the debts accumulated during the relationship.


In the absence of a cohabitation agreement containing an express declaration of shares in jointly owned property, an application can be made under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA).  Under the 1996 Act, the Court can expressly declare shares in jointly owned property: order a sale of the property and direct that a person wishing to purchase the share of the other owner/s should be offered this opportunity before there is a sale of the property.

While TOLATA offers a useful legal framework, we strongly recommend establishing your intentions regarding property and finances through a cohabitation agreement. This step aims to minimise the risk of disputes and the need to rely on TOLATA, which can be a more lengthy and costly process.

30 Years of Experience in Cohabitation Disputes

We’ve honed our skills in cohabitation disputes, with high client satisfaction rates and over 30 years of experience in family law cases — including cases involving high net worth clients and assets. If such a dispute arises within your relationship, we’re the people you can trust to handle your case.

At Goodwins, we understand the stress that can be caused by these disputes, and we will work hard to resolve any issues efficiently and fairly, ensuring you and your children can continue with your lives with the least disruption possible.

Our team approaches every case with the highest degree of sensitivity, ensuring you are well-informed and fully equipped for the legal journey ahead.

We are based in Harrow, London but serve the entire UK. If you would like to know more, contact our team today and see how we can help you.

Cohabitation Disputes FAQs

How long has Goodwins been providing cohabitation disputes?

Goodwins has been providing its cohabitation disputes service since 1993.

Will I have my own dedicated solicitor to deal with my case?

Yes, you will be assigned a specialist who deals with cohabitation disputes.

Do you offer fixed fee consultations for cohabitation disputes?

Yes, we offer fixed fee consultations where we will give advice on how to proceed with your case, highlighting all options available to you and the costs involved.

Will my enquiry be treated confidentially?

Yes, we will deal with your enquiry with the utmost professionalism and sensitivity, ensuring that everything is kept confidential.

How will I communicate with my solicitor for cohabitation disputes?

Your solicitor can be contacted via phone or email. We also offer video calls. Alternatively, you can visit your solicitor at our office.

Where is the Goodwins office and how can I visit it?

Our office is located in Middlesex and is available to visit Monday-Friday 9am-5:30pm.

Are cohabitation disputes legally binding?

Yes, cohabitation disputes are legally binding contracts.

Can you represent me if I live outside London?

Yes, we can represent you even if you live outside London. With modern technology, we can effectively communicate and work together remotely via video calls and emails.

However, if you prefer face-to-face meetings, you’re welcome to visit our offices. We’re committed to providing expert legal advice and representation tailored to your needs, whether you choose to work with us remotely or in person.

Meet the Cohabitation Disputes team

Watch our video to gain an insight into the inner workings of Goodwins Family Law Solicitors and how we can help you.

Cohabitation Disputes Process

Consistency, quality and sensitivity are the key elements of our approach to each and every case. Our expert team will deal with your situation with the utmost professionalism and sensitivity, whilst striving to reach the best possible outcome.

Get in touch with our legal team via form, email or phone
Our dedicated law secretaries will review the enquiry and then will assign it to the most appropriate Solicitor based on the requirements.
We'll arrange a fixed-fee appointment to discuss your case
This can be done over a video call, face-to-face meeting at our offices or over the telephone - whatever works best for you!
Initial consultation
During this consultation, we'll take time to get to know you and your case and make some initial recommendations on how we can work with you for the best outcome.
You decide if you'd like to proceed with us representing you
There's no pressure across this period, we'll give you space to consider all options and make the right decision for you.
Retainer agreed and the case is started
There'll be some paperwork to complete at this stage, but we'll be on hand to support you through this process.

Why choose Goodwins for Cohabitation Disputes?

Divorce and family law specialists
A leading London based firm
Members of The Law Society
Established over 30 years
Excellent client satisfaction rate
Experts in cohabitation agreements & disputes
International cases undertaken
Highly competitive fee structure
Client Feedback

Goodwins Family Law Solicitors is a registered company in England. © Goodwins Family Law Solicitors 2024. All Rights Reserved.

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