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  • Cohabitation
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Law, Practice and Precedents


This work provides commentary, checklists, procedural guides and precedents on the subject in a single volume

A 10.3% VAT charge will be added to this product at the checkout as it includes a CD-ROM.

The numbers of unmarried cohabiting couples continue to increase, with the result that the law and practice relating to this area continues to grow in significance for family and private client lawyers. This new edition of Cohabitation: Law Practice and Precedents has been extensively revised to take account of all procedural developments, as well as analysis of significant case-law.

Whether preparing a cohabitation contract or pre-nuptial agreement, drafting wills for cohabiting couples, advising on rights on the breakdown of a relationship or the death of a partner, or applying for a personal protection order or a parental responsibility agreement, practitioners will find authoritative analysis of the applicable law and expert guidance on procedural issues.

Cohabitation: Law, Practice and Precedents provides commentary, checklists, procedural guides and precedents in a single volume making it an invaluable aid to all practitioners advising unmarried couples.

This new edition also comes with a CD-ROM containing all the precedents covered in the volume

Essential reading for all practitioners who advise unmarried couples:

  • Solicitors and Barristers practising in both family and private client law
  • Family mediators
  • Accountants
  • Financial advisers

  • Property
     - Law and Practice
     - Procedural Guides
     - Checklists
     - Precedents
  • Cohabitation Agreements
     - Law and Practice
     - Checklists
     - Precedents
     - Forms
  • Taxation of Unmarried Couples
     - Law and Practice
  • Personal Protection
     - Law and Practice
     - Other Remedies
     - Procedural Guides
     - Checklists
     - Precedents
  • Children
     - Law and Practice
     - Procedural Guides
     - Precedents
  • Death and Succession
     - Law and Practice
     - Procedural Guide
     - Checklists
     - Precedents
  • Pension Rights of Cohabitants
     - Law and Practice
  • Pre-nuptial Agreements
     - Law and Practice
     - Precedents
  • Cohabitation and Welfare Benefits
     - Law and Practice
  • Miscellaneous

This new edition also comes with a CD-ROM containing all the precedents covered in the volume.
The aim is to assist practitioners when dealing with the particular requirements of those who are neither married nor in a civil partnership- it does just that, brilliantly.

As far as we know, it is the only work on the subject to provide commentary, checklists, procedural guides and precedents in a single volume making it an invaluable aid to all practitioners advising unmarried couples. That is what makes it such an invaluable reference for those advising at every aspect of a cohabitation relationship ... Read more>>

An appreciation by Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers and Phillip Taylor MBE, Head of Chambers and Reviews Editor, The Barrister.

Reviews of Previous Editions

"It is difficult for a busy family law practitioner to access cohabitation law quickly as there is no specific family law based remedy. This monster of a tome attempts to put all those resources together in one place. Does it work?

The introduction is succinct but precedes the House of Lords' debate of Lord Marks'bill. Reference to comparative law would have been instructive to demonstrate how far out of kilter English law is now positioned when compared to many other countries. A later section on pre-nuptial agreements does include comparative law, but a broader international approach would have been helpful given the increasingly international nature of families in England and Wales.

The section of Property demonstrates a considerable depth of explanation as to the development of the concept of the common law constructive trust. There is a particularly useful table contrasting joint and sole name cases, indicative of the many useful summaries provided in other sections of this book ..."
Read the full review by Graeme Fraser, Partner at Hunters

"A few editions ago, the authors turned a corner in terms of providing contextualised commentary...has been continued in the new edition...but what busy practitioners need to know is how that law applies day to day and how to advise clients...The comprehensive and clearly written content is easy to navigate...from practical experience that the procedural guides and checklists are essential tools...with little chance any time soon of fundamental reform to the laws applying to unmarried couples, this book will continue to be a prominent feature on my desk."
Caitlin Jenkins, Mills & Reeve

"Practitioners tasked with advising unmarried couples -- or those in a civil partnership -- on any, or all aspects of their lives, including relationships and finances, should acquire this book...it is to date, the only work specifically on cohabitation to combine informed and authoritative commentary with checklists, procedural guides and precedents, all in one single volume...District Judge Helen Wood points out that lawyers are usually consulted only when a cohabiting relationship is in difficulties...Her view and the basic approach of the book is that ‘prevention is better than cure.’...Probert remarks, ‘the need for a work that deals with the legal position of unmarried couples is greater today than ever before’. With their number now approaching the three million mark, this latest, up-to-date edition of this definitive work -- with its accompanying CD ROM -- is an essential purchase for all professional advisers in this field: mediators, accountants and financial advisers, as well as practitioners."
For the full review click here 
Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers

Previous Editions

"... the book takes a multi-disciplinary approach to this often vexed subject ... contains vital material new to this eition ... Scholarly, thorough and readable, this is a book designed with the needs of the busy practitioner in mind. Its extensive resources for further research include tables of cases, statutes, statutory instruments and international material ... if you're advising cohabiting couples on any aspect of law, this book, particularly in this new edition, should be regarded as a definitive guide to the subject and an essential purchase ...
For the full review click here
Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers 

"Readers will welcome this comprehensive and authoritative work on an area of human interaction which is gaining social prominence and legal importance" 

"Makes for a timely fifth edition of Jordans’ Cohabitation: Law, Practice and Precedents, which presents an important vision of things to come. Written by leasers in their field, representing both practitioners and the judiciary, the book brings together all the many legal and practical issues practitioners face when  advising cohabitating clients, those considering cohabiting, or those experiencing issues with cohabiting members of their family or others with whom they encounter legal issues. The legal treatment of such relationships is frequently less clear than with those clients in formal unions, and this book distils that treatment into navigable chapters and sensible commentary which is both up-to-date and comprehensive, and in a manner which can be easily worked into a form a lay client will understand and appreciate. This authors clearly had clients in mind when producing this work, which makes life easier for the practitioner" 

"The ‘Procedural Guides’ section provides readers with a mine of up-to-date information on a number of issues related to cohabitation, and must surely answer any question a practitioner new to this area may have. Similarly, the checklists and precedents (both non-contentious and contentious) bring together signposts and substantive documents, which are both user-friendly (a soft copy on CD) and invaluable"

PS, Private Client Magazine, Law Society, September 2012, Issue 101

"There is all the armoury for practitioners to advise unmarried couples ... contains precedents for almost any situation"

ALC Newsletter 

“A very good buy ... not just for family lawyers"
New Law Journal

"set out in a helpful and clear format ... the style is clear ... There is no doubt that the authors have provided a 'clear and authoritative exposition of the law', as the Foreword suggests. It is both comprehensive in its range and thorough in its detail, succeeding in elucidating an often complex area of law and offering the busy practitioner a helpful guide to the procedures and practicalities involved in advising and acting for their cohabitant clients"

Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law 

"From its first, pioneering, appearance nearly twenty years ago, Wood et al continues to raise its game through each successive edition. With the additions of Judge Eames, a foreword by Judge Eleanor King and a new section on welfare benefits, all contributing to a 23%-plus increase in size, this one is well worth the extra fiver over the 4th (1999) edition. As before, the idea is that ‘prevention is better than cure’ (Preface). The main raison d’etre of a new edition is, of course, to take advantage of developments since the previous one and this is seen from Rebecca Probert’s ‘Introduction’ all the way to ‘Miscellaneous’ via ‘Law and Practice’, ‘Cohabitation Agreements’ (still not ‘Contracts’?), ‘Taxation of Unmarried Couples’, ‘Personal Protection’, ‘Children’, ‘Death and Succession’, ‘Pension Rights and Cohabitants’, ‘Ante-Nuptial Agreements’ and ‘Cohabitation and Welfare Benefits’....Accurate accounts of the current law – together with its precedents – have always been the hallmark of this work which, in recent editions, has also become more accessible and contextual. But it as a classic law book that it triumphs. Matters are clearly, logically and comprehensively described with helpful headings and sub-headings"
CHRIS BARTON, Emeritus Professor of Family Law, Academic Door Tenant at Regent Chambers  and a Vice-President of the Family Mediators Association
The aim of this book is to assist practitioners when dealing with the particular requirements of those who are neither married nor in a civil partnership.

A lawyer will usually only be consulted when a relationship is either in difficulties or at an end. It is at this stage that myths as to entitlement to property and financial provision may have to be exploded. This is so especially in relation to property where there remains very little statutory protection for cohabitants and uncertainty abounds.

The approach of this book is that ‘prevention is better than cure’. It is divided into ten sections. Each sets out the substantive law and,where appropriate, precedents and procedural guides. As such it is multi-disciplinary, enabling practitioners to advise clients fully at all stages of a cohabitation relationship, and on every aspect.

The law is as stated at 1 February 2017.

Helen Wood
February 2017
The ease with which a couple can opt for cohabitation,consciously or by default, belies the complexity that often attends the termination of their relationship.
In many respects legislation has provided safeguards and remedies that place cohabitants in a similar if not identical position to those who are married or in a civil partnership. In other important respects, notably property and financial provision, there has been a reluctance to do so. There are public policy arguments about the importance of marriage and the family for society, and counter arguments that point out that nearly half of all children are born outside marriage and the law should reflect the realities of family life in the 21st century.

Further attempts to legislate for inclusivity for cohabitants have been abandoned. As far as rights over property are concerned, these remain rooted in land law, equity and trusts. There is little or no discretion and the end result can often appear unfair.
The outcome of litigation can never be certain, and in disputes between cohabitants this is especially so. Many expensive arguments could be avoided if only cohabitants could be persuaded to take appropriate advice at the outset, whether as to beneficial interests on the purchase of the shared home or by the formalisation of agreed terms in a properly drafted cohabitation agreement.

The advice that cohabitants need reaches into all aspects of legal practice. This book provides a clear and authoritative exposition of the law, both contentious and non-contentious, with guidance on practice and procedure, precedents and checklists. It will be an invaluable reference for all those advising at every stage of a cohabitation relationship.

Lady Justice Eleanor King

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