Cohabiting Couples

Many couples today choose to cohabit rather than marry or enter a civil partnership.

Very often a cohabitee will assume that they acquire an interest in their partner’s assets simply by reason of their cohabitation – but that is not the case.

Whilst Resolution (previously the Solicitors’ Family Law Association) continue to argue the case for reform, it remains the case that most cohabiting couples will have to rely on Trust Law to determine what should happen in relation to property that they jointly own or in which one of the parties maintains they have an interest.

We recommend that cohabiting couples should enter into a Cohabitation Agreement setting out how they intend to own property and manage their financial matters during their relationship and how they would wish that property to be distributed were the relationship to end. This would be in the form of a contract between the parties.

Sometimes we have to advise clients after they have separated. In those circumstances we can advise those clients as to how Trust Law applies to them.

In the event there are children, we can also advise them as to how the financial provisions of the Children Act 1989 apply to them.

A more detailed advice can be given to you at the free initial appointment.

Cunningtons’ Family Law Department

Cunningtons LLP has a specialist Family Law Department based at its offices in Braintree, Wickford and Chelmsford.

Our team of Family Law solicitors has significant expertise in Family Law and Children Law and we are all members of Resolution. In other words, we are experts at what we do, so you can be sure that the advice you receive is accurate and realistic.


The following are common questions we get asked about Family Law issues. If you cannot find the answer here, please ask us for an answer.

Although you do not need a solicitor to get a divorce or dissolution, you will benefit from clear legal advice at a stressful time in your life.

The advice of a professional divorce solicitor who has experienced many similar situations in the past in invaluable.

If your divorce ends up in court it can be very expensive – upwards of £3,000.

That is why as experienced Family Law solicitors we see that it is so much easier and simpler to agree all the terms amicably by discussion.

The standard cost of a divorce is usually between £500 and £1000, depending on whether you are the petitioner or the respondent.

That sum excludes anything to do with finance.

Although in principle a divorce or dissolution aims at a 50/50 split, is unusual for all assets and income to be split equally.

The division depends on many factors including childcare, cost of living, and the perceived financial input of each party.

The division doesn’t have to be dealt with in court, it is more likely to be a decision achieved through mediation.

A Family Lawyer acting in a Divorce – or a Divorce Solicitor – deals with all aspects of the divorce proceedings, financial arrangements and childcare issues arising out of a  separation.

Family Law solicitor helps with all other aspects of Divorce:

  • sorting out finances after a separation;
  • making arrangements for children after a separation;
  • protection from domestic abuse; and
  • prenuptial agreements (prenups).


Fixed Fee Scheme

Find out about our unique Fixed Fee Scheme for Family Law cases, and see if it’s right for you.

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There’s a lot of jargon involved in the world of Family Law, so we have put together a glossary of the most common terms, with explanations.

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Family Solicitor Focus

The human face of Family Law: meet Cunningtons partner Jill Wiggins, who works out of our Braintree office.

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