Separating From Your Partner

Ending a long-term relationship can be an emotionally taxing and complex process. Often, there’s uncertainty regarding your entitlements, the division of finances, property, and custody of children. Allow us to offer you some concise guidance in the form of Frequently Asked Questions below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Garner & Hancock LLP offers expert solicitors who can help with:

  • Finances: Dividing assets, debts, and savings; determining spousal or child maintenance.
  • Property: Deciding on who will move out, how to buy out the other person and option for selling and more importantly how to decide the price.
  • Children: Arranging living and contact plans.

Meanwhile, take these steps:

  • Gather documents: Collect financial and legal documents.
  • Plan living arrangements: Decide where you’ll live during the separation.
  • Communicate with your partner: Discuss practical matters like finances and living arrangements. You can also use mediation to help you with difficult conversation we recommend.
  • Seek emotional support: Talk to friends, family, or a therapist to cope with the emotional challenges.

The starting point is that assets belong to the legal owner (the person named on the deed/title). You can easily find out who is on the title deeds by going to  However, you may be able to claim a beneficial interest if you can prove a common intention to share ownership and have acted to your detriment based on that understanding (e.g., by contributing to the deposit or renovations). Our specialist property law solicitor, Mr. Vinay Tanna a partner at the firm can assess your situation and advise on your options.

Joint Tenancy:

  • Each owner has equal rights to the whole property.
  • There are no defined shares.
  • If one owner dies, their share automatically passes to the surviving owner(s).

Tenancy in Common:

  • Each owner has a distinct share in the property, which can be equal or unequal.
  • These shares can be passed on to someone else in a will or through intestacy rules.
  • There is no right of survivorship.
  • Usually if you hold this way there is a trust deed in place.
  • Joint tenancy: If you own property as joint tenants, you are generally entitled to 50% of the property’s value upon separation, regardless of your individual contributions to the purchase price or mortgage payments. Eg even if only you have been paying the mortgage you will still be entitled to 50%.
  • Tenancy in common: If you own property as tenants in common, you are only entitled to the percentage of the property that you own, as specified in the ownership documents.

The way you own the property will be specified on the title deeds, which you can obtain from the Land Registry. If you’re unsure, you can also check the transfer deed or ask your solicitor or conveyancer.

If you are in a cohabiting relationship and there is no formal agreement specifying the ownership shares, the court will need to determine the beneficial ownership. This is a complex area of law that often requires specialist legal advice. Garner & Hancock can help you understand your legal rights and advise on the best course of action based on your specific circumstances.

Even without a formal agreement, you might still have a claim if you can demonstrate a common intention to share ownership and you have acted to your detriment based on that understanding. This can be a complex area of law, so speak to Vinay Tanna of Matthew Goddard from our specialist team on 0208 232 9560.

Yes, unmarried parents have the same rights and responsibilities regarding their children as married parents. This includes financial obligations and ‘custody’ arrangements. Any application would be made under the Schedule 1 of the Children Act.

Generally, unmarried couples have no automatic right to their partner’s pension unless named as a beneficiary. However, there are some exceptions, such as in the Local Government Pension Scheme.

The Cohabitation Rights Bill, if passed, would grant some rights to cohabiting couples with children or who have lived together for at least three years. However, as a private member’s bill, it is unlikely to become law. Please sign the petition which can improve rights .

Each person keeps their own assets, and jointly owned assets are split equally. Disputes over ownership are complex and can be costly, so seeking legal advice is crucial. Our team can assess your situation and advise on the best course of action. You should protect your assets by entering into a Deed of Separation. This will protect you to avoid your partner coming back.

Key Takeaway:

  • Find out what you are entitled to.
  • Be prepared, get good advice early.
  • Seek to have a deed of separation in place to protect you

Contact us today for a confidential consultation.

Speak to Vinay Tanna.

How Can We Help You?

We’re here to assist you. Simply send us your query, and we’ll provide an initial consultation to anyone seeking legal assistance. Don’t hesitate to contact us anytime for help with your legal matters.