Frequently Asked Questions

Please use the tabs below to search through our frequently asked questions, or alternatively, you can use our search form below.


How are things different between those who have been living together and people who are married?

If you are married

Some married couples separate but never divorce, being happy to simply stay apart. All you need to do to be legally separated is live apart.

Officially, you can even be separated but still live under the same roof, if you arrange your household so that you no longer sleep or eat together and you do not do domestic chores, such as washing or ironing, for each other.

If you decide not to get divorced, your marital assets and debts will remain joint in the eyes of the law. This may not be a problem for many couples, but it’s a good idea to think what impact it might have on future life changes, for instance, if you want to move in with a new partner.

If you are not married

If you own or rent a property then any dispute about what happens to it will be dealt with through property and trust law rather than matrimonial law.

Many people believe that living together creates some protection through ‘common law’ but this is not the case.

If you have children there are laws to ensure that financial provision can be made for them (for instance somewhere to live and sufficient child support) but generally, if you are not married there is no expectation that one person can claim any of the assets owned by the other.

Some of the questions that mediation can help you solve are: If the property is in a sole name, have you made equal contributions to the mortgage and upkeep of the property? Are you tenants in common or joint tenants?

What will happen to our joint accounts? What about maintenance for myself? Does the fact that you have children make a difference to the property?

Mediation for couples who have never been married provides much more flexibility than the law for decisions you may choose to make about what were once your shared possessions and assets. For many, this provides a much fairer outcome especially if you have children

Our expert mediators are able to help you tailor an agreement that fits your specific circumstances. Type your postcode to find your nearest family mediator.