HRS Family Law Solicitors


07960 126 872

Cohabitation & Separation

If you are are separating from your long term partner and are concerned about how to split finances, making child arrangements or even custody of the family pet, we can help. Our expert family lawyers can help you navigate this complex area of law. Book a first free appointment today for a no obligation discussion with an expert family lawyer. 


Many couples live and have children together without being married. But when these couples separate they can find themselves in legal difficulty. This is because the law that applies to this situation can be very different to where a marriage is involved. If you are unmarried and looking to separate from your partner, things like child custody, splitting finances and arranging who gets the family pet can get unnecessarily complex. It is perhaps this area of English law that is problematic most often for most people.  

We can help. At HRS we see many examples of this type of case each and every month. Other firms who are not specialists cannot say the same. Our expert family lawyers can help you take care of all your arrangements with minimal fuss. So if you are looking to separate from your long term partner, book a free first appointment with an expert family lawyer today for a free and frank discussion on your options.  

How we can help…

HRS Family Law Solicitors are experts in protecting your interests and recovering assets after a separation. We can help you as much or as little as you need in the following ways:

  • Negotiating a financial agreement with your former partner
  • Negotiating child arrangements with your former partner
  • Applying to court for a financial order
  • Applying to court for a child arrangement order
  • Enforcing financial orders that haven’t been obeyed
  • Helping you win maintenance, a lump sum order or a property transfer order
  • Negotiating and officiating pension sharing
  • Helping you win child maintenance
  • Dividing up complex estates

Separating from a long term partner is complex, especially where there are children, properties or assets involved. Our dedicated team of private law specialists have significant experience in this area of law and can help you navigate this complexity. Book a free appointment today and a private law solicitor will discuss your options with you.

Cohabitation Cases Frequently Asked Questions

My partner was arrested and told not to come back to the house. He is now refusing to pay the mortgage and won't sign the house over to me. What can I do?

You can apply to the Court for an order for sale under an Act called TOLATA. You can even get the Judge to sign the transfer document if necessary. Book a first free appointment today and we can help you look at options then arrange all the paperwork if you choose to instruct us.

Can I change the locks to my house as my partner has left but keeps coming back when he wants?

Probably. If it is your house and not his or your tenancy and not his, then yes. If it is in joint names probably not legally, but although in theory the change may be criminal damage it is unlikely to be actioned. If the house is not yours in any sense you should be careful not to do so and seek redress by an action for what is called an Occupation order. If you are in any doubt about what you should do book a first free appointment with us and we can advise.

My ex-partner and I split up three years ago and he left. He now says that he wants £10K from me for the house. Am I liable?

This is complicated. Basically if the house is in your sole name he may have a claim if he did work on the property or paid the mortgage. If he did not but paid some bills or for food etc his claim will be doubtful. You should seek legal advice. We offer a first free appointment to everyone. Just use the form below to book yours.

My house is in joint names with my ex-partner. I'm worried that it may go to them if I pass. What can I do?

This can be a complex area of law. We can help you sever a tenancy and draft any lasting powers of attorney or wills to make this less likely. Book a first free appointment today to find out more.

What areas of law cover cohabitation and why is it so complex?

The Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 is the basis for complicated case law that makes this aspect of family law one of the most difficult to navigate without specialist expertise.At HRS we see many examples of this type of case each and every month. Other firms who are not specialists cannot say the same.

Unfortunately this area of law has not kept up with modern ways of living. The law changes and has recently done so.  Many lawyers believe that there is an urgent need for reform.  Until then we at HRS will continue to stay up to date on the latest developments and changes.  As experts in family law we can guide you through this complex area.

My fiance and I have called off the wedding. Do I have to give the engagement ring back?

No. If he gave it to you it was a gift. You aren’t under legal obligation to return gifts.

My ex-partner refuses to return my cat. Please help.

Under law a pet is considered to be a ‘chattel’. That means it is a belonging. It is a question of fact who it belongs to. If it is yours, proof is needed. A receipt or evidence such as vets bills etc are useful. You can make a claim for the return of the cat or damages in the small claims Court. For dogs kennel club registration may be crucial, if applicable.

My boyfriend and I have split up but he refuses to leave even though the mortgage is in my name. Can I force him out?

Yes, if he is not on the title to the property. Assuming he was not a tenant and did not pay rent he is a licensee. Revoke the licence in writing with reasonable notice and then change the locks and bag his belongings up carefully without damage for collection.

My partner and I are separating but we cannot agree on some of our things. How do we divide them up?

Legally items are either, yours, his or jointly owned. Write a list and negotiate using items of similar value where you cannot remember or agree. If you still struggle to agree on certain items of high value or for the care of a pet, you may need to consider mediation or even court. Talk to us today at a first free appointment and we can point you in the right direction.

My former partner left a year ago and I have no idea what to do with his things. Please advise.

The Torts (interference with goods) Act requires you to store them for a reasonable period, say 6 months and then you can sell them and hold the money for him. If you prefer bag them up and keep secure and undamaged. You should give him notice of disposal before destruction and if you do not know where he is make reasonable enquiries before any action.

My girlfriend and I have fallen out but we have a tenancy together and nowhere to go. Can I force her to leave?
If you are both tenants then you both have the right to stay. You could give notice on the tenancy but that would affect you both equally. If it is a council tenancy be careful because if she gives notice in theory that binds you as well. Our advice is to get legal help. If one of you leaves the other is liable for the full rent until the tenancy ends. If there is violence or unpleasantness you could apply to the Court for an Occupation order particularly if children are being effected.

What others are saying about our cohabitation cases service?

KW- West Brom Branch

From my inquiring online for a consultation and speaking to the receptionist was Really quick. During the consultation everything was explained in a jargon-free way by a lady who presented your company well clearly demonstrating her knowledge from the beginning to end of our conversation. I felt a real sense of relief within a short time of explaining my families situation that i was going to get the correct help at I needed at this very tough and challenging time. I was overly impressed!!!

Alice and Geoff- Bearwood Branch

I’ve just come out of a long and complicated process and feel very relieved. Your advice was very well suited to the situation and always timely. Thank you from Alice and Geoff

Alex- Birmingham Branch

Thanks to you guys I got my doggy back 🙂 I would have been lost without you. Big thanks to everyone at the Birmingham branch.

Jason- Dudley Branch

Helped me draft and submit a small claim against my ex. I represented myself at the hearing and won but couldn’t have done it without HRS. Highly recommended.

Amir- Birmingham Branch

The staff were friendly and helpful, the information given to me was clear. I found the fee reasonable as well as value for money. Excellent service throughout the whole process. Thank you for your help and support.

Brian- Kings Heath Branch

From first meeting we were at ease, you were always there for us throughout. You were professional and kept us informed. The price was agreed on day one and there were no hidden extras. You won our case within the timescale you said it would be. We are very satisfied with the service you gave us and can recommend HRS to anyone. Thank you!

Monika- Birmingham Branch

Highly recommended firm. Ashley Davies was the one who dealt with our case. He was very reassuring and always on top of everything, very approachable, listening to client’s concerns and dealing with them there and then. Documents were always ready on time and so was Ashley, never had trouble contacting him. I cannot praise him enough, having dealt with other solicitors, he was like a breath of fresh air, allowed me to relax. We cannot thank you enough!

SM- Walsall Branch

I seriously can’t thank you all enough! Eveyone form the receptionist to my Solicitor all helped me so much. I’m so glad women’s aid recommended you.

RD- West Brom Branch

I first contacted HRS two years ago when my husband’s abuse got too much. They helped me get my house back and put me in touch with all these amazing charities that gave me help and counselling. I’m still on my journey of healing but HRS are the ones who helped me start the journey at the start. If you are scared just contact them.

SC- Erdington Branch

HRS helped keep me and the kids safe from my ex. We’ve started a whole new life now. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

We offer everyone a first free appointment

If you are separating from a long term relationship and you have children, joint assets or joint debts, we can help your separation go as smoothly as possible. We can help you make child arrangements, seperate finances and assets and even arrange custody of the family pet. Book your first free appointment today for a no obligation chat with an expert family lawyer about the best path forward. 

cohabitation solicitors