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Family Law

What are The Benefits of Cohabitation vs Marriage?

Image of two wedding rings.

Marriage may not be for everyone, some couples may wish to avoid the formalities involved with legal marriage. This may be for costs reasons, a wedding can be an expensive affair or simply because they do not see the point in formalising their union as a couple. These couples may choose to live together, which is known as cohabitation. There are advantages and disadvantages of how a couple that is married and a couple cohabitating are treated under the law.



Couples that are not in a civil partnership or married, have no immediate legal rights if they separate. Both are therefore at risk of being treated unfairly or left with nothing when their relationship breaks down. This can particularly difficult for those couples that own a home together or who have children. This is why a cohabitation agreement is an important document to consider.

Being part of a cohabitation agreement can provide a number of advantages for a couple that is living together – here are a few of the benefits.

  • Life will be easier in the event that you do split up, there will be certainty as the agreement will set out the details of what should happen upon a breakdown. By having a cohabitation agreement, it can make matters easier and less acrimonious.
  • Lowers the risk of arguing or splitting up due to financial matters and doesn’t require legal action to resolve any disputes.
  • It could save you money as a cohabitation agreement could help you avoid the need for legal action.



Marriage may seem similar to cohabitation, but they are actually different from each other in various ways. – here are a few differences.

  • Marriage can only take place with a formal ceremony and the signing of the Marriage Register, whereas cohabitation can start instantly without any formalities.
  • Marriage has to be ended by a legal divorce or annulment process which can be an expensive time-consuming process. Cohabitation does not require any formal ending.
  • Couples divorcing have the right to claim against the other’s assets. Cohabiting couples have no such rights as yet in English law. This is very important when faced with a scenario when a property is owned by one party yet both parties live in the property. If married they both have rights to the property, but if cohabiting the party who does not have their name of the property may receive nothing.


Cohabitation vs Marriage

There are important differences between cohabitation and marriage. This includes legal status, finance, death and many more.


Contact Us for Family Law Solicitor Service

If you’re located in the West Midlands or the surrounding areas and you would like advice or help from our expert family solicitors, then please get in touch with us. We can provide professional family law services and discuss your situation and needs.

Call us on 0121 356 4556 or you can email us at enquires@jmwilsonsolicitors.com. We’re always happy to help.


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