Splitting up when you are not married

Just because you didn’t have a wedding ceremony doesn’t mean that splitting up when you are not married isn’t every bit as stressful as getting a divorce.

If you have children or own a home together and your lives are completely linked it can be very difficult to see the wood from the trees and understand what your rights are, especially at a highly stressful and upsetting time.

You do not have to take any legal action to separate from your partner who you are living with when your relationship ends. Often, however, there may be issues regarding children, housing, property and finances that need to be sorted out.

If these can’t be informally talked through and arranged it can be better to enlist the help of a family lawyer who can tailor their services to the needs of separating couples. They can look at your individual personal circumstances and advise on the best steps forward for you.

They may suggest a written Separation Agreement or Deed of Separation which sets out how a separating couple wish to sort out issues about money, property and arrangements for children.

This can be achieved through Alternative Dispute Resolution such as Mediation or Collaborative Law or by Court action.

Property and Finances

Due to the complex nature of shared finances and property that is owned and/or shared by a couple, the rights of each individual need to be clarified, especially if property is owned by one partner and the other has paid part of the mortgage or household bills or one has been a full time carer of children.

Jointly owned property with complications need to be looked at on an individual basis also, and whether the property should be sold/whether one partner should remain living in the house and the other move out and so on.


When a relationship ends and there are children involved, both parents are responsible for supporting their children financially, regardless of where the children will be living. It is most beneficial if a separating couple can reach a friendly arrangement about the future care of their children, such as who they will normally live with and how they will stay in contact with the other parent.

If it is difficult for this process to be amicable, mediation may be the next step to enter into. Mediators will help both parties to come to agreements in a safe and blame free environment, and reach workable solutions for themselves and the children involved.

If you are at all in the dark in your situation, you would be wise to speak to experienced and qualified professionals who deal with the laws surrounding these issues on a daily basis so that you can be confident that everything is sorted out as swiftly as possible and with as little stress and upset for everyone concerned.

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