Dividing your property and money if you're not married

If you’re not married or in a civil partnership, you have no automatic legal rights to your partner’s assets or property when your relationship ends.

Your partner doesn’t have to make regular support payments to you (maintenance) or a lump sum settlement. However, if you have children, the other parent does have to contribute to your child’s living costs. See our Children section for more details.

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been together – the law doesn’t give the same rights and protections to cohabiting couples as it does to married couples. Many people are surprised to learn that in England and Wales there’s no such thing as ‘common law marriage’.

This means that there’s no formal process to dividing things up.

What are my options?

If it's safe or appropriate to do so, you could try coming to an agreement with your ex or trying with the help of mediation.

You can make any agreement legally binding by applying to the courts for a consent order.

However, if it's been an abusive relationship, it may be dangerous or unwise to maintain contact with your ex in this manner.

You might need legal advice or a solicitor to help you make a claim against your partner for things that you think should be yours – or to act as go-between if you don’t want to deal with your ex-partner directly. But a long legal battle can be expensive and stressful.

If you’ve experienced domestic abuse, you may be able to get legal aid.

Your home

What happens to your home depends on who owns it or the tenancy agreement you have if you're renting.

Whatever the situation, if your partner has been abusive, you may be able to get legal protection to stop your ex from coming into the home, or to get back into your home if you’ve been forced out.

For more information about your home, please see What happens to the family home when we split up?

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