Problematically for unmarried couples and families, the law does not provide a set of rights which are as comprehensive as those provided to married couples and divorcees.
This applies whether an unmarried couple has lived together or not and whether they have children or not. It’s important to be aware that the myth of the “common law spouse” is just that – a fairy tale.
However, other parts of the law do provide a web of useful and valuable rights, financial and non-financial, many of them developed over decades of decisions by the Courts rather than from any Act of Parliament. Some have arisen from the implementation of the Human Rights Act and can give rise to claims which are also enforceable against key third parties such as pension trustees, mortgage lenders, trustees and executors of estates. And for those who have children, Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989 provides an important set of financial claims which complement the Child Maintenance Service (formerly Child Support Agency) regime. These range from “top up” maintenance payments to help with school and university fees and capital costs such as buying a home to bring your child up in.
This added complexity means that it’s important to obtain professional advice as soon as problems arise. Our role is to advise you on how to obtain the best outcome, irrespective of your situation. Each family is unique, requiring bespoke advice across a variety of areas. For those who have children, we appreciate that achieving a fair and reasonable outcome for your children will be a first priority. We are experienced in complex financial matters such as monthly child and spousal maintenance, contributions towards school fees or university costs, planning for the future or a sudden change of circumstances. We also value your privacy and have specialists in that field who are able to support us when questions involving confidentiality, publicity and the press arise.
Our holistic approach means we have all the expertise you need, locally and internationally, under one roof. This includes commercial and residential property law, estate planning as well as many other areas.
Meet the Team
Will couples who were locked down together stay together? Cohabitation in the wake of COVID-19
When the first lockdown measures were introduced, many couples were faced with an ultimatum: either move in together or isolate separately
Untangling the Atlantic Knot: Wills for mixed US/UK couples
Before Chris and Sam “settle down”, they have decided to go on a sailing adventure. Their parents are insisting that they make Wills.
Grandparents and their children’s divorce
Guardianship of grandchildren following parent’s death or divorce
“Step parents” and their partners’ children
What happens to the children if the natural parent dies and what is my position as a step parent?
Charles Russell Speechlys recognised in the latest edition of The Spears 500
The annual report is based on peer nominations of the UK's leading private client lawyers.
Miranda Fisher shortlisted for Lawyer of The Year (Family) at the Spear’s Wealth Management 2017 Awards
Miranda’s nomination is in keeping with the acknowledgement by Spear’s of the firm’s achievements and professional proficiency.
Charles Russell Speechlys shortlisted in 6 categories at the Citywealth Magic Circle Awards 2017
Cohabitation: The myths and maths of living together
Do you live with your partner? Are you unmarried? We explain what happens if it all ends in tears.
Supreme Court decision on unmarried couples and their pension entitlements on the death of their partner
With cohabiting relationships being the fastest growing family type in the UK, this is an area of law that is long overdue for reform.
Family—what’s on the horizon for 2017?
Family partner, Grant Howell, is interviewed by LexisPSL on the issues facing Family Law in 2017.