Unmarried Couples Rights

Individual solutions for couples living together


If you are living with your partner and/or raising children outside of marriage you may not realise that you do not have the same protection as a married couple if the relationship breaks down. So, this raises the question over what are unmarried couples rights?

Our experienced team are experts in dealing with solutions for couples living together. To protect yourself should the relationship breakdown in the future, we recommend all unmarried couples have a “Living Together Agreement” which will document information about your financial position and who owns what including the title ownership of the property, payment of outgoings and the payment of any building work.

Should your relationship breakdown without a “living together agreement”, our family solicitors are experienced in advising individuals on their property and financial rights, we take a straightforward approach to resolving your dispute as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

Get in touch today on 01483 887766 or start a live chat to speak to one of our experienced solicitors about unmarried couples rights.

who to contact


Vanessa McMurtrie

Partner, Family

Partner, Family

Vanessa McMurtrie

Vanessa trained and then qualified as a solicitor in 1991 with Hart Brown working in the Cobham office's family department for a decade. She then worked for us on a part time consultancy basis while devoting more time to her family. During this period she was instrumental in implementing Hart Brown’s family department’s case management system and later, the quality system that led to the firm’s ISO 9001 accreditation.

In 2005 Vanessa returned to client work and joined Mackrell Turner Garrett where she stayed for ten years, before re-joining Hart Brown in 2015. Vanessa knows Woking and the surrounding area well and enhances the work covered at our Woking office as part of the family team.

Vanessa has been a Resolution member since 1991, committed to resolving disputes in a non-confrontational and constructive way. She has served on the Surrey Resolution committee since 2008. She is a Resolution accredited collaboratively trained lawyer and welcomes the opportunity to help separating couples adopt this process as an alternative to the more traditional options available.

Over the years, Vanessa has gained a wealth of experience in dealing with all the legal aspects of relationships coming to an end. She prides herself on being approachable and understanding as she helps her clients go through the legal process.

Sharon Powell

Partner, Head of Family

Partner, Head of Family

Sharon Powell

Sharon has over 20 years experience in all aspects of family law and in particular the financial aspects of high value divorces. Sharon is a trained collaborative lawyer and she is particularly experienced in dealing with couples who have assets abroad.

She is a Resolution Accredited Specialist and qualified in mediation and collaborative family law.

“A break up of a relationship is very sad for everyone concerned” says Sharon. “I believe that our role is to try and help both parties reach a solution which they are both happy with. When feelings are running high this can sometimes be difficult but I believe we can make a difference”.

Sharon is often thanked by her clients for her sympathetic and supportive approach through a traumatic time in their lives.

Her most memorable case was in a divorce where financial matters involving significant assets were resolved amicably yet parties persisted to argue about kitchen utensils!

Sharon qualified as a solicitor in 1986 and joined Hart Brown in 2007 becoming a partner a few months later.

Family | 19th November 2019

Grandparents are for Christmas too

For many families in these hectic times, especially where both parents work, being able to call upon other family members to assist with the day...

Sharon Powell

Family | 1st November 2019

“A dog is for life, not just for Christmas”, but...

We are a nation of pet lovers, but what happens to them if their human owners separate? Relationship breakdown is usually a stressful time for...

Vanessa McMurtrie

Family | 7th June 2019

Empty Nest, Empty Marriage

As an individual whose next ‘big birthday’ is 60, I have become more aware of how ordinary life events can suddenly feel extra-ordinarily scary and...

Vanessa McMurtrie

Family | 27th November 2018

Is there such a thing as a ‘good divorce’?

Many Resolution[1] family lawyers think so and this week is Resolution’s annual awareness-raising week Minimising the impact of conflict on children: Conflict can have some...

Vanessa McMurtrie

Family | 8th October 2018

Cohabitation, civil partnerships and marriage – the choice is now...

Last week, the Government announced that it intends to allow heterosexual couples to enter into civil partnerships. This decision was no doubt taken in the...

Julian Waldon

Family | 6th September 2018

Is there an advantage to being the Petitioner to a...

As many famous singers have lamented, “breaking up is hard to do”. On top of the emotional stress and prospect of legal proceedings, while the...

Vanessa McMurtrie

Email Us

We will return your email within 24 hours during our office hours.

Submit Enquiry

01483 887766

Call us today if you would like to discuss your legal issue.

Come and see us to book an appointment

At one of our five offices.

Our Offices