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Cohabitation

Statistically more people are now living together than are marrying, so it is more important than ever to know where you stand if difficulties arise in the relationship.

Unfortunately, cases involving cohabitees can be complicated, with significant issues arising around each party’s financial contribution during the relationship and the fair distribution of assets.

There is no such thing as a common law husband or wife even when you have been together many years. You will need expert guidance through what is a complex area of law.

Starting your relationship

If you purchase a property together, it will probably be the single biggest asset that you own. As such, it is important to determine whose name the property will be in, the value of each party’s contribution and how this is reflected.

You may wish to consider entering into a Cohabitation Agreement. This is a legal document which sets out the financial arrangements of your relationship and can be as detailed or as straightforward as you wish.

During your relationship

You should consider how your property is owned and what you would like to happen with your assets should one of you pass away. There is no automatic entitlement to your partner’s pension or death in service benefits. There is no automatic provision for maintenance between parties. The longer your relationship, the more these matters need to be addressed. There have been many high-profile situations when following the death of a cohabitee, the survivor found themselves in a very vulnerable financial position.

Furthermore, what should you do if you want to invest Capital maybe from a previous settlement or Inheritance? We can advise you on the options available to you across our business, including property purchases, the relationship itself, your Will and estate planning.

Ending the relationship

Sadly, if the relationship comes to an end you may want to consider a Deed of Separation that sets out the financial decisions you are about to make and provides evidence if they come under attack in the future. A Deed of Separation will also deal with any Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) or Land Transaction Tax (LLT) implications helping you to avoid a huge tax bill.

Speak to our experts

For a FREE initial consultation with our expert Family Lawyers, simply complete the form on this page, call 01244 356 789 or email info@cullimoredutton.co.uk.

Why choose us for your Cohabitation matter? Because we are:

Experienced

Our team has in excess of 90 years’ experience of helping, supporting and advising clients, achieving the best possible solutions for them and their children.

Specialists

Members of our team are trained collaborative lawyers and mediators. This specialist knowledge enables us to deal with your family issue in a sensitive, constructive and cost-efficient way.

Understanding

We understand the emotional turmoil and distress that separation and divorce can create. Our promise to you is that we will be by your side, supporting you at every stage, assisting, advising and providing solutions for you and your family.

Who will work on your Cohabitation matter?

A fully qualified lawyer. Your matter will either be handled or supervised by a solicitor with at least 20 years’ experience in this area of work.

Some areas of work may be supported by our Paralegal team.

Administrative duties will be undertaken by our support staff.

As Head of Department, Brenda Spain has overall responsibility for the supervision of all work carried out by her team.

Our Family Law Department

Brenda Spain

Brenda Spain

Wiselaw
Solicitor | Director | Head of Family Law and Litigation Teams
Family Law and Litigation Teams
Qualified 1987
Additional Qualifications: Member of Law Society Family Law Panel, Qualified Mediator
Contact

Hello, I joined Cullimore Dutton in 2019 to take up the position as Head of the Family Law team.

I have been qualified for over 30 years having previously practiced in Worcestershire in a tier one Family Law team. I have considerable experience of dealing with all aspects of family disputes, with particular expertise in:

  • Divorce/separation and finances; particularly those cases involving Businesses, Pensions (NHS, Police, Armed Forces), Farms and Inheritance etc
  • Private children disputes including internal and international relocation
  • Cohabitation disputes
  • Pre and post nuptial agreements
  • Civil partnership disputes
  • Domestic abuse cases

I am also a qualified mediator, a member of the Law Society Family Panel and a member of Resolution.

I appreciate that relationship breakdowns can be a very difficult and overwhelming experience for many. This is where strong support, guidance and understanding is required.

I work extremely hard for clients to resolve matters in a clear, down to earth, professional and approachable way. I am always prepared to go that extra mile to help our clients achieve the best outcome for them and their children whether through the negotiation process or the Court process if Court Proceedings become necessary.

I was recently appointed as Cullimore Dutton’s Training Principal and am delighted to be able to mentor and support colleagues who are entering the legal profession.

I am proud to head a team of very talented lawyers, aspiring lawyers and assistants.

Away from work I enjoy spending time with family and friends and being outdoors with my Labradors. I enjoy sports, music and getting involved in charitable events and good causes.

Susan Alexander

Susan Alexander

Consultant Solicitor
Family Law Team
Qualified 1981 (Scotland), 1994 (England & Wales)
Additional Qualifications: Collaborative law practitioner, Child inclusive mediator, FMCA accredited mediator
Contact

Hello. I joined the firm as a Consultant Solicitor and Family Mediator in May 2016. I am an accredited family law specialist with over 35 years of experience as a family lawyer dealing with all aspects of Family Law, including divorce, separation, children and financial issues, cohabitation disputes and preparation of pre-nuptial agreements and cohabitation deeds.  

I am a fully accredited Family Mediator and provide Child Inclusive Mediation. I practise collaborative law where couples sit round the table with specially trained lawyers to help them reach solutions which are best for them and their children. I promote the benefits to separating couples and their children of having a dialogue together in a safe and supported environment to make decisions that need to be made about money and property and child care arrangements.  

Divorce is not easy nor is it easy to sit down together and talk about how assets should be shared or how child arrangements should be worked out when emotions are running high. Using Family Mediation and Collaborative Law usually means that agreements are reached more quickly and the uncertainty (and costs) of court proceedings are avoided.  

I am an experienced litigator in cases that cannot be resolved by mediation or collaborative law. I take pride in being thought of as an efficient, hardworking yet approachable and supportive solicitor who helps people through a very difficult time. 

My expertise is in: 

  • Family Mediation including child inclusive mediation  
  • Collaborative family law 
  • All aspects of divorce and separation including financial and children issues 
  • Pre and post nuptial agreements 
  • Cohabitation agreements  
  • Cohabitee disputes 
  • Resolution accredited Family Law specialist  

Away from my desk I like to go to the gym and the lawyer’s fit club, I play bridge and I sing in the Rock Choir. I love socialising with my friends and family. I am also involved in organising events for charity. 

Kelly Hughes

Kelly Hughes​

Associate Solicitor
Family Law Team
Qualified 2009
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Hello, I joined the Family Law team at Cullimore Dutton in December 2022 having worked in the Cheshire legal sector for over 13 years. I specialise in all aspects of family law, and have a keen interest in financial matters on divorce and children disputes.

I consider myself to be extremely empathetic and can relate to the challenges clients face having been through divorce myself. I fully understand the difficulties clients face in adjusting to their “new normal” whilst navigating the divorce process, dealing with financial matters and adjusting to co-parenting.

I am a friendly, approachable and down to earth lawyer, and I pride myself on being able to explain the law and legal processes to my clients in a clear and straightforward way.

Outside of the office, I’m a keen aerialist (a person who performs acrobatics high above the ground), a fair-weather runner and I enjoy spending time with my children and our family dog.

Georgina Roberts

Solicitor
Wills & Probate Team
Qualified 2013
Additional Qualifications: Full member of Solicitors for the Elderly
Contact

Hello. I joined Cullimore Dutton in September 2023 where I am part of the Wills, Trusts, and Estates team.

I grew up in West Kirby on the Wirral and completed my Law Degree and Legal Practice Course at the University of Sheffield.

I was really excited to join Cullimore Dutton and I’m enjoying getting to know the rest of the team and the clients – everyone has been so welcoming so far.

Private Client is an interesting area of the law and I really enjoy helping people at what can sometimes be a difficult and stressful time of their lives. I’m also a full member of Solicitors for the Elderly, which means I’m trained to work with older and more vulnerable clients.

Outside of work, I love eating out with my husband and I try to go running three times a week in order to counter this!  I also enjoy spending time with friends and my two cats.

I specialise in all aspects of Private Client work and have expertise in:

  • The creation of Wills
  • Trusts and inheritance tax planning
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Administration of Estates
  • Court of Protection work

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your help over what has been a very troubling time for me. Your professionalism and support have been very reassuring from start to finish.

Cullimore Dutton Family Law client

I had a call with Brenda yesterday and I would like to write a review because she was really amazing and gave me some very sound advice. Brenda’s professional and personable approach put me at ease, and she quickly understood the issues pertinent to my case. It is clear that she has extensive experience, and I am very grateful for her sage advice. If you need family legal advice I would highly recommend speaking to Brenda or one of her team who will be able to help.

Cullimore Dutton Family Law client