Cohabitation & unmarried couples. 

Edwards Family Law is a team of experienced family law solicitors based in London, specialising in cohabitation law. 


What is Cohabitation and what are my rights?

Fewer and fewer people are getting married in England and Wales and are choosing instead to live in a cohabiting relationship.

What many couples do not understand is that the concept of a “common law marriage” does not exist. The financial rights and obligations available to married couples do not apply to cohabiting couples.  If you want to avoid future issues, either at the point of deciding to live with your partner, or once you have moved in together to regulate how you arrange your finances, we can assist you in preparing a cohabitation agreement to set out your intentions.

Alternatively, your relationship might be about to, or has just broken down.  

As a result of the very common misconceptions about the law in these circumstances, many people can find themselves at a huge financial disadvantage because they were expecting a different financial outcome or inadvertently ‘trust’ that they would get something at the end of the relationship.

Perhaps you have a dispute relating to a property owned in joint names, or perhaps your partner owns a property which you had thought was going to be for the both of you but in which you have no legal interest.  Perhaps you have spent significant time and money renovating your family home but it is not in joint names, but you are now separating and you have nothing in place to protect you. If this is something you believe might apply to you (or vice versa), we can give you comprehensive and clear advice regarding possible claims.

What if we are unmarried with children?

If you have children with a partner but are not married, it is important to note that your rights and responsibilities as parents remain the same as it is for married couples. Decisions such as where the children should live and what the arrangements for them might be upon separation apply equally to you.  

The court has powers under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989 in respect of making orders for the provision of housing (depending on affordability) for the parent with care of the child(ren) until the end of their minority, or conclusion of their education, subject to the circumstances of your case.

The court can also order top-up maintenance if the paying party (non-resident parent) has gross income in excess of £156,000 per annum. 

Free Consultation

We offer a free 45-minute consultation to all qualifying individuals, who have complex cases and want to be represented by our leading family and divorce lawyers. After 45 minutes, please note that our time is charged at our hourly rates.

During a free consultation with our experienced divorce solicitors and family solicitors, you can expect a comprehensive discussion about divorce in the UK (England and Wales). We’ll walk you through the process of how to get a divorce, covering important topics such as the divorce application, laws on divorce and your financial rights and obligations following a divorce.

Our lawyers will provide insight into divorce law, including no-fault divorce, and help you understand the divorce process, including divorce filing and court proceedings. We’ll also discuss the cost of divorce, giving you a clear picture of what to expect financially. Our team of solicitors also can provide comprehensive legal guidance in issues such as child arrangements (also known as “child custody”), spousal support, and property division.

We’re here to assist you in every aspect of getting a divorce or family issue, making the process as smooth and stress-free as possible. Whether you’re seeking advice on family arrangements or need guidance on a divorce consent order our experts in family law are here to help.

We endeavour to respond to all new enquiries within a few hours but sometimes with other commitments such as court hearings, that might not be possible. At most, we will get back to you within 24 hours. If you require urgent or immediate assistance, please contact the team by email, flagging the urgency and we will do whatever we can to assist, if proportionate and possible on the facts of your individual case.

Meet our Lawyers

Portrait of Kelly Edwards

Kelly Edwards

Managing Partner

With over 15 years experience in dealing with Complex Family Law matters, Kelly will be able to guide you through any aspect of your case with speed and ease.

Picture of Sarah Hogarth

Sarah Hogarth

Senior Associate

Sarah advises clients on all aspects of family law, with a particular focus on resolving complex financial issues for high-net-worth individuals.

Chloë Ashman

Associate Solicitor

Chloë’s legal practice encompasses all aspects of financial remedy, Schedule 1, private children and prenuptial and post nuptial agreements.

Picture of Charlotte Lanning

Charlotte Lanning

Associate Solicitor

Charlotte has a vast array of experience in all of the issues that can arise from relationship breakdown with a particular focus on complex financial matters, often with an international dimension

Picture of Isobel Rarok

Isobel Rarok

Associate Solicitor

Isobel is experienced in all aspects of divorce and dealing with High Net Worth and complex financial matters together with advising on pre and post nuptial agreements

Picture of Kate Pooler

Kate Pooler

Associate Solicitor

Kate advises on all aspects of family law, including divorce, financial remedy, Schedule 1 Children Act cases, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, concerns around behaviour associated with relationship breakdown and all matters relating to co-parenting


Kelly Edwards has brilliant strategic oversight. She’s someone you want in your corner. Charlotte Lanning is incredibly clever and clients love her.

Legal 500

The team at Edwards is ruthlessly efficient. They are very transparent with clients and it really pays off; clients know where they stand and are not given unrealistic expectations. I would have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending them to personal friends.

Legal 500

They are very professional. They provided clear explanation of processes, options and best possible course of action. Good communication. Highly recommended.


I would highly recommend Edwards Family Law. Kelly & Charlotte's service, expertise and knowledge was first class. Really appreciate their advice with my case.


Edwards Family Law provides an excellent service, personally I was in contact with Kelly Edwards, who is very friendly, understandable and punctual with her work. I would highly recommend this service for everyone who deals with family laws.


I have recently used the services of Edwards Family Law and Kelly gave pragmatic advice and made what could have been a very stressful process, streamlined and straightforward. The process was handled diligently and this made for it being both less daunting and inexpensive.


Kelly is great - compassionate but strong and fair in her advice. Can't imagine what a mess I would have been in without her. Excellent experience with Kelly! 


Kelly Edwards is highly knowledgeable and experienced. I highly value her counsel and completely second the previous comment that describe her as 'pragmatic'. Kelly is very efficient, for a fee that is reasonable and fair.