Cohabitation - What Is It & What Are My Legal Rights as a Parent?

Cohabitation – What Is It & What Are My Legal Rights as a Parent?

Your legal rights as a partner may depend on whether you are married or living together. Living together with someone is sometimes also called cohabitation.

What is cohabiting? 

Cohabiting is when a couple pre-marriage (or civil partnership) lives together. If you live with your friend, whether you are not married or in a civil union, you are a couple living together.

It’s critical for most parents that they have parental responsibility for their child. If you have parental responsibility for a child you are responsible for the well-being of that child. 

You have the right to make legal decisions about that child in order to meet this duty, including decisions about their schooling, religion, medical care and name. So, do the two parents still have parental responsibility for unmarried couples with children? Here’s the facts:

Cohabitation agreements for unmarried couples living together

A cohabitation arrangement is a legal document intended to protect unmarried couples ‘civil rights. If you are still separating it makes things straightforward. We will establish a cohabitation agreement for you that sets out explicitly what would happen if you were ever to split. It provides you with legal rights and helps ensure there is no confusion. For example, if you own property together a declaration of trust will clearly set out your ownership rights.

When you have cohabited and the relationship ended, we can guide you on the best path forward. We will help you split, for example, any assets that you have together. When a relationship breaks down, it’s not always easy but we’re going to help you keep the practical aspects under mind. In particular, property laws are complex, and sometimes transform to concrete facts. When you have a property dispute but no trust declaration, our professional and in-depth experience will help you make decisions that can address any selling or ownership issues. We also have considerable experience in supporting couples who have children too. 

Can unmarried partners get spousal support after a breakup?

Legally, there is no financial obligation on the part of cohabiting couples if they divorce. If your partnership ends you have no legal obligation to offer financial assistance to your former spouse. Many cohabiting couples chose to come together to start a family. If the relationship breaks down, single parents can not demand spousal support but child support may be payable. 

What are the parental rights of unmarried fathers and unmarried mothers?

Unmarried mothers bear automatic parental responsibility for their kids. Fathers are not necessarily liable for raising their children unless they are married to their mother. Unmarried fathers can gain parental responsibility for their children by reporting the birth together. Joint registration means the name of the father appears on the birth certificate of the infant, along with the mothers. 

Parental accountability is relevant as it means that parents in relation to their children should have rights and responsibilities. Unmarried parents should carefully consider what will happen to their children if they break up, or if one parent dies suddenly.

Joint birth registration provides the children with extra protection in the case of an accidental death, since both parents have parental responsibility. For instance, if the mother passed away, a father without parental responsibilities does not necessarily have responsibilities for his children, which may make an already extremely complicated situation more difficult.

For more information on cohabitation, you can contact us. Or, for more information on your rights as a parent – you can find out more information by visiting our family law page.