What you can do

Partnership rights for unmarried couples

Unmarried same-sex couples are now assessed jointly for benefits and taxes, like opposite-sex couples, however cohabiting couples do not have the same rights as married couples or civil partners.

Property rights

Property rights will generally stay the same as they were before the relationship. For example, if a person owns a house and moves their partner in but the relationship subsequently breaks down, then the property will remain that of the owner and the partner will generally have no claim on it.

Couples who do not want to have a civil partnership but wish to safeguard themselves should make wills and perhaps sign written agreements about what belongs to each partner, which could then be used in any later disputes.

Financial support

You and your partner don't automatically have a duty to maintain each other financially if the relationship ends, unless you have an agreement to do so. However, one partner can apply to court (within 1 year of the relationship ending) for a limited financial settlement from their former partner. As a result, a court may decide that one party should pay the other a sum in recognition of the costs of caring for any child of the relationship under the age of 16. The court will consider whether, as a result of decisions the couple made during their relationship, one partner has been financially disadvantaged. For example, if a couple had decided that one partner would give up a career to look after their children, the court will look at the effect that decision had on the partner's ability to earn money after the relationship ended.