A couples kissing after marriage

Cohabitation and Marriage

Cohabitation and Marriage

Cohabitation can be referred to as an act of living together and being emotionally attached without being married although on an unmarried partner visa. According to the Office for National Statistics, over 6 million couples in the UK cohabit; this goes to say that some people prefer living together with their partners on common ground rather than getting married or being civil partners.

In this article, we explicate the rights cohabiting partners and married couples have in the UK according to immigration rules.


Do Cohabiting partners and married couples have same rights?

Unfortunately, no. Married couples are bound by legal laws and can inherit either party’s properties in ill-fated situations such as death, unlike cohabitees who have no legal validity in the UK. Cohabiting partners have to seek the other’s consent as regards their personal properties and belongings and when they decide to end their relationship, nothing holds either party bound, not even children; except if a cohabiting agreement was established for them.


What factors under the law qualify cohabitees?

When cohabitees or intending cohabitees decide to go before case law, it would be better they were informed what the judges may seek and if they can live together and share daily life.

The factors include:

The purpose and motivations of both parties.

The stability of the relationship

Their financial status: who sustains their living together, is it both or either party? Is the relationship of a sexual nature?

Are children involved?

Do friends and family recognize both parties are a couple?

These factors are usually considered to ensure that at the very least, cohabitees are void of dispute staying together.


What rights do cohabiting partners have in the UK?

A person’s legal rights to live together with his partner can be dependent on some variable s which may include age and status. The requirements include:

  • No instinctive rights to your partner’s assets on their demise
  • Either party cannot automatically inherit the other’s estate, even if children are involved
  • A cohabitee can only inherit their partner’s property only if there is a will in place
  • Cohabitees have No tax reliefs and exemptions that married couples or civil partner enjoy which includes pensions.


But in some aspects, cohabiting couples may have some restricted help under the law which includes:

  • Children under 18 could be financially provided for according to Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989.
  • A cohabitee’s survivor may be able to establish a claim if they have contributed significant amounts towards the home (on mortgage or renovation basis).
  • A person can charge the partner to court if they jointly purchased a property and either party is reluctant on selling it.

A cohabiting partner may be able to improve their chances with their partners or legal position by ensuring that they draw up a will and keep it updated as events unfold. They should also draw up a cohabitation agreement that can serve as a general law for them if children are involved and on their ‘living together’ expenses.


How we can help

Our immigration lawyers are available and are willing to assist you. If you need a comprehensive information and advice on Cohabiting in the UK or on immigration and visas related issues, contact us.