Cohabitation Agreement Solicitors | Shortlands Family Solicitors
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Cohabitation Agreement

The law pertaining to cohabitation (living together without marriage) is very different to that which applies to married couples.

If you are separating from your cohabiting partner it may be worth while getting to know your legal rights especially in complex matters where property, finances, inheritance, and custody of your children are concerned.

OUR team of specialist lawyers have also dealt with numerous cases concerning the future educational needs of the children and inheritance. The law does not provide cohabiting couples with the same legal rights as married couples meaning that the law is complex so we would encourage you to know your rights.

We also encourage both partners to work amicably and aim to resolve the matter through mediation, or collaboration. Our team is certainly well placed to deal with your case without raising conflict. In circumstances where a sterner approach is required to secure your and your children’s’ rights we will discuss the court procedure with you thoroughly before proceeding.

In order to ensure that you are secure from the outset of your relationship, we recommend drafting a cohabitation agreement which records you and your partner’s intentions about the split of property and finances and even the time that the children will spend with each parent in the event that the relationship ends. For more extensive advice and information please email or call us to

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I have found Shortlands an extremely professional and understanding firm. My solicitor Sian Whittaker has always explained proceedings in a manner that is easy to understand and the knowledge and advice given has always been supportive and invaluable.I feel that my work is being handled very professionally and they are very prompt with their replies to my questions. I would not therefore hesitate in recommending them.
Lee Kimberley
Dear Shortlands, A very big thank you for all your help regarding my case, brilliant service provided and I will be recommending your good name to all who seek legal representation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do I have to be married before I can start a divorce?

You have to be married for at least one year before divorce can be commenced.

Do I have to divorce in the country where the marriage took place?

No. You are able to divorce in the UK as long as you or your spouse have been resident here for at least one year before starting your case, or you and your spouse are domiciled in the UK.

If my spouse and I have been separated for two years, are we automatically divorced?

No.The same procedure has to be followed before divorce is finalized. See Our Flowchart

What paperwork do I need to start a divorce?

  • A divorce petition.
  • Original Marriage Certificate, with translation if appropriate.
  • A fee.

How long does it take to divorce?

An ‘agreed divorce’ takes about 5-6 months to finalize.

What happens if I cannot find my spouse?

You are still able to divorce by showing the court that you have made attempts to locate them. The facts of 2 years’ separation with consent or adultery should not be relied upon in this instance.


Our professional and highly experienced team of family law can assist you in your legal matters with full respect, ensuring you maintain a private family life. Begin the process today by submitting a confidential request, filling in the form below. We will respond to you shortly.

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