Your Rights If You Are Not Legally Married

If you living with your Partner without a ring on your finger then this is a must read blog! Despite the increasing numbers of couples living together without being legally married, there is a misconception about what this means. The only way to gain the legal status of husband or wife is to have a recognised marriage ceremony in this country or enter the country as a spouse. If you have had only the Muslim marriage ceremony of a Nikaah in this Country then you are not considered married. A Nikaah only is not a marriage in the eyes of the law of this Country.

The law treats married couples very differently on separation than those who are married. It does not matter how long they have been in the relationship or whether they live together. Those who are unmarried find themselves at a significant disadvantage that married couples when they separate.

The most important difference is that if you are not legally married to your partner then you have no right to financial support if you separate. On marriage, there is an obligation to divide property equally of the couple split up.  The family assets have to be divided carefully.

If you are unmarried or cohabiting then regardless of how long your relationship has lasted or whether you have children you have no legal right to financial support. Put simply you are treated as the same as a boyfriend and girlfriend! Your children can however have a claim for financial provision from the absent parent.

If you do not want to get married then you can protect your position by drawing up a legal agreement called a Cohabitation Contract or Agreement. This will set out how you own and share your property and how you want it to be split if you do not stay together. This needs to be signed by both parties after each of taking independent legal advice. It is always worth having an agreement to save future arguments.

We have a specialist team of Family Lawyers who can guide you in relation to your rights.


Ayesha Nayyar


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