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Ending a relationship when you are living together

Ending a relationship when you are living together

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Ending a relationship is rarely easy but the experience can be much more difficult when you have been living together as a couple. On top of all the emotional heartache, there will be plenty of practical stuff to deal with. If you’re not married or in a civil partnership you don’t need to formally end the relationship from a legal point of view. However, here are some of the things you will need to think about.


How you deal with property will largely depend on whether you own or rent your home and whether or not one partner will be staying on in the home. If you have a joint mortgage on your house then you may wish to sell up and split the proceeds. Legally, if only one of you is named as the owner then only that person has the right to stay in the property. This is also the case for rented properties; only the person named on the tenancy agreement has a legal right to stay. However, if you have children, a court may grant the other person the right to remain in the home for up to six months after the seperation.


Only those with parental responsibility or a court order have a say in the future of children when a relationship breaks down. Where couples are not married only the mother automatically has parental responsibility unless the birth was registered by both parents after May 2006, a Parental Responsibilities and Parental Rights agreement was registered or a court order was made giving legal rights to the father.

If you can’t agree about who the children should live with and other important decisions about their futures, the courts can help. They will only get involved if it is in the best interests of the children and you will have to apply for a court order. You may wish to try a mediation service before going to court.

Ending a relationship when you are living together



Whether or not your children are living with you after the break up, both parents are still responsible for their financial support. However, you don’t have an obligation to support your ex-partner, only your children. When the relationship comes to an end, you may wish to freeze any joint accounts you have together to stop the other person withdrawing more than their share of the cash. Shared finances will have to be organised so try to arrange a time to sit down together and sort everything out at the same time.

Who to inform

When a relationship ends and one or both parties move out there are a number of people you need to inform. These include your:

– mortgage lender

– landlord or housing association

benefits office

– council tax

– banks and building societies

– electricity, gas and phone companies

– credit card company

– insurance companies, especially if you have a joint policy

– schools

– doctor and dentist

– solicitor if you intend to change your Will

If you are changing your address you will also need to inform Royal Mail if you want your post redirected.





About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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