Many people think that if you live with your partner for a couple of years you get the same rights as married couples. But this simply isn’t true. Therefore it is important that you understand your relationship’s legal status.

Marriage may not be right for everyone.  There are a variety of reasons why some couples choose to live together without the benefit of a legal union.  However, there are legal differences between marriage and cohabitation relationships which you must fuly understand before deciding the way forward for you and your partner.

Information and advice on Marriage, Living together and Civil Partnerships, including the following:

  • Getting married
  • Legal differences between Living together and Marriage
  • Legal differences between Civil Partnerships and Living together
  • Registering a Civil Partnership 

is available from citizensadvice.

For information on the practical and legal issues surrounding getting married, living together and civil partnerships, go to GOV.UK.

Financial Implications

A guide to how much it costs for an average marriage is available from MoneyHelper.

Six important questions you should discuss before moving in with someone, can be found at

Cohabitation Agreement

A cohabitation agreement is a legal document between unmarried couples who are living togethersetting out arrangements for finances, property and children while you're living together and if you split up, become ill or die. An agreement can be made at any time but iti is a good idea to do it before you move in together.

Full detrails of how to draw up a Cohabitation Agrgeement are available from The Law Society

Guides and Fact Sheets

A guide, "Cohabitation – your rights" is available from The Law Society.

A range of fact sheets on living together is available from advicenow.. 

For a guide to buying a house with another person, go to

For a leaflet explaining  how to open a joint bank account, go to MoneyHelper.

For a detailed explanation of the Married Couple's Allowance (including civil partnerships), go to GOV.UK.

For further information on Tax and your partner go to

Forced Marriage

An arranged marriage is where both participants give their full consent and enter the marriage willingly.

A forced marriage is where one or both people do not or cannot consent to the marriage and they go through with the wedding under duress from their families and/or the community..

Forced marriage is illegal in the UK and under the The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 , you or your represenative can apply for a Forced Marriage Civil Protection Order. This order can be used to prevent someone from being forced into a marriage or to protect someone if a forced marriage has already taken place.

Information and advice on Forced Marriages is available from GOV.UK.

If you're being forced to marry someone against your will, you can seek help and advice at 

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