Family Mediation Week: separation when you have been living together article banner image

In the final installment of our series of articles, we talk about the role of mediation when you and your partner haven’t married but are looking to separate. 


Are we common law man and wife?

You will not be, because legally there’s no such thing: you are either married, or you’re not.

If you are then within a divorce the court can achieve a fair outcome.

If you are not then you need to be clear on your legal rights, because they dictate your entitlements.

What are my legal rights?

Typically they would be as follows:

  • If the house is in your joint names then you are likely to have a financial interest in it.
  • If you have children together then your partner may be liable to pay maintenance to you for their benefit
  • If you have children and your partner has assets you may be able to obtain an arrangement where he or she houses you and the children while the children are minors

The legal landscape is more complicated than for married couples who separate. It is important to get good quality advice from a family law solicitor.How can mediation help?

Solicitors are only there to advise on the legal position; however, together you can agree whatever you want. Mediation might enable you to reach an agreement that is much more flexible (and much less expensive to achieve) than anything a court could do for you.

Is mediation binding?

No, but your solicitor will be able to advise you on how to convert a mediation outcome into something that is binding to give you peace of mind

Is mediation a requirement?

You are expected to explore ways of reaching an agreement without going to court whether it is about children or money. Whilst it is not always a strict requirement, it is very often a sensible choice.

How would l access mediation?

Again, your solicitor will advise when it is wise to attempt mediation to ensure that it has the best prospect of being successful. If so it can save considerable expense and heartache. Solicitors who are members of Resolution are committed to dealing with family issues in a sensitive and constructive way.



To contact, please call 01872 265100, or email