Cohabitation FAQ

The simplest answer is that savings accounts with building societies or banks that are in the children's names should pay the children interest gross (i.e. without tax deducted).

It's still quite permissible for children to hold shares in companies, even though the tax credits on the dividends are not refundable.

If the children don't have any investments and if you have surplus after-tax income of your own which you can give to your children, this is usually tax free in the children's hands and, if you are particularly wealthy, is a very useful way of transferring income to them, so that the children can accumulate a sum that can then be invested. However, once the income from the source exceeds £100 per annum it will be taxed in your hands. Where you transfer your own shares to your children, if the children are under 18, the income arising on these shares will be regarded as belonging to you, so this does not save tax.

The Child Trust Fund is a tax-free savings scheme designed for children. The Government contributes £250 when the child is born and a further £250 (£500 for lower-income families) at the age of seven. Parents, family and friends can contribute a further £1,200 annually. The child is entitled to the fund at the age of 18 and there will be no restriction on how he uses the money.

No, and you are particularly at a disadvantage when it comes to Inheritance Tax. If you are married and your spouse dies, you do not have to pay tax on his estate whereas a partner who is unmarried but cohabiting does.

Yes, by applying to the court for an occupation order (in England & Wales) or an exclusion order (in Scotland). You must be able to prove that your partner has been violent or that you have suffered psychological harm.

Yes. The Child Support Agency assesses all fathers in the same way.

Any money put into a joint account is treated as jointly owned so either of you can remove it at any time, even if one of you put in more money than the other.

Yes. The bank or credit card company can chase both of either of you for the whole debt.

This will depend on the circumstances so you should speak to a specialist solicitor straight away.

No, so you should both be making a will immediately.

If your partner dies without making a will their estate will be distributed among their blood relatives in accordance with the rules of intestacy. If you are not married (a.k.a. cohabiting) you may well not be entitled to any of their estate.

Yes, assuming you want your partner to inherit from you. 

It's very important for unmarried partners who are cohabiting to make wills, as without them, the surviving partner may receive nothing when the estate is distributed.

Discuss the problem with your solicitor first. If it's a problem relating to the service you've received, discuss the problem with either the solicitor directly or, if that's awkward, the partner in their firm responsible for complaints. All solicitor firms must have their own complaints procedures. If the solicitor is a sole practitioner, then they may have an arrangement with another local firm or with the local Law Society to deal with complaints.

Now put your complaint in writing. Any complaint should eventually be recorded in writing. Your solicitor will then have a record of the details. You should keep a copy of your letter.

Next refer the case to the Legal Ombudsman. You should contact the Legal Ombudsman if: 

  1. you haven't received a detailed reply to your initial complaint from your solicitor within a reasonable time, say 28 days; 
  2. you haven't been able to sort out your complaint with your solicitor; and 
  3. your complaint is about a solicitor's conduct. 

It's important that you contact the Legal Ombudsman within six months of the matter you are complaining about. If you leave it any longer, it may decide not to investigate your complaint.

Solicitor jargon 'no win, no fee' means that solicitors are paid nothing for their work if they lose, but it also covers agreements whereby solicitors can charge more if they're successful. Put simply, there are two types of 'no win, no fee':

  1. Conditional fee agreements: this is the only type of 'No win, no fee' that is allowed for the vast majority of cases (with the exception of family and crime). The solicitor is allowed to charge a sum to reward his risk-taking in the event of a successful result which can be as much as double his fees. If you win, the losing side will (generally speaking) pick up this cost.
  2. Contingency arrangements: the solicitor takes as his fee a straight percentage of the award (by contrast with a Conditional fee agreement where the lawyer charges a percentage increase on his or her fees). It's limited to cases which don't involve court proceedings, and is especially popular in employment tribunals and Motor Insurers' Bureau claims.

There are various methods of funding a legal case used by solicitors:

  • Charging by the hour: This is the most common method of charging. Hourly rates vary from high street firms where you can expect to pay somewhere between £80 to £120 an hour for advice on private and commercial work, all the way through to £350 an hour for a senior partner in a City firm for extremely expert advice on complex points of commercial law.

  • Fixed fees: This form of payment has the obvious appeal of limiting your liability for legal costs and, after the hourly rate, it's the next most common way of charging. The obvious downside is that if your case concludes quickly, then you will end up paying more than you may have on the hourly rate basis.

  • No win, no fee: 'No win, no fee' is a deceptively simple expression. On one level - and as the name implies - solicitors are paid nothing for their work if they lose, but it also covers agreements whereby solicitors can charge more if they are successful.

  • Legal Aid/the Community Legal Service: To be eligible for Legal Aid, you have to show that you cannot pay for your case (i.e. that you are financially eligible) and that you have a sufficiently strong case that you are likely to win. Even if you're working, own your home and have savings, you may still qualify. However, you may well have to pay a contribution towards the cost of taking your case to court.

Subject to certain conditions, both parents can take up to a total of 13 weeks off, unpaid, to look after a child under the age of five. If you have a disabled child under the age of 18, you are also entitled to 18 weeks off.

Not always. A woman who is the long-term partner of a child's mother can also qualify.

If you have worked continuously for your employer for 26 weeks by the beginning of the 14th week before the expected week of childbirth, you can take either one week or two consecutive weeks' paternity leave (not odd days). During this period, your employer is required to pay statutory paternity pay at the current rate of £124.88 per week (from 6 April 2010), even if you don't intend to work after the child is born. To be eligible for statutory paternity pay, you must: be earning an average of at least £95 a week (before tax).

No, statutory adoption leave is only available to one of you. The other member of the couple, or the partner of the adopter, may be able to take paid paternity leave.

A Deed Poll is a legal form. Nothing more, nothing less.

A Deed Poll is a legal form that binds you to a defined course of action. And in this case this course of action is to change your name.

And that is all a Deed Poll is: a legal form to officially change your name.

Strictly speaking ‘Deed Polls’ can be used for other purposes. But in popular usage a Deed Poll simply means a legal form that is used to officially change your name. If you want to get really ‘legal’ you can say that a Deed Poll used to change your name should be called a ‘Deed of Change of Name’. But who cares…

You can use our Deed Poll Kit to officially change your name right now!

A Deed Poll must legally contain only three statements that, by signing, you commit to:

  • To stop using your former name
  • To use only your new name and to use your new name at all times
  • To request that all persons use your new name only

You next need to sign the Deed Poll, date the Deed Poll and have your signature on the Deed Poll witnessed. It's as simple as that. In just five minutes you can change your name officially by Deed Poll.

In England & Wales you must be married for at least a year before you can start a divorce petition. In Scotland you or your spouse must have resided in Scotland for the year preceding the divorce, or consider Scotland your principal place of residence.

In order to change your name officially you need to officially change your name. A Deed Poll is the legal form that does this.

For instance, we assume that having changed your name you will want to get all your official documents and official records changed to be in your new name. Things like your UK passport, your bank accounts, your driving license and so on. To do this you will need to be able to provide documentary evidence of your change of name: and this is why you need a Deed Poll.

When changing your name by Deed Poll, you simply write to everyone, enclosing copies of your Deed Poll, and ask that your name is changed to your chosen new name.

Full instructions on what to do to change your name officially are provided with our Deed Poll Kit. Change your name officially now!

With our Deed Poll Kit, you can change just about any name you want... to just about any name you want!

  • You can change your forenames or your family name (or surname). 
  • You can add or remove names. 
  • You can rearrange your existing names and change their order. 

In fact, as long as you are not changing your name with the intention of deceiving someone, you can change your name when you want and how you want.

There are some things a Deed Poll cannot change your name on. These are historical records that cannot be changed, simply simply because they are historical records.

So your Deed Poll can't be used to change the name that appears on your birth certificate, marriage certificate, civil partnership certificate, divorce decree absolute certificate or any educational or professional certificates that you hold. In fact, there is no legal circumstance in which the names on these can be changed.

But our Deed Poll Kit will enable you to change your name on your passport, driving license, bank accounts and all other official documents.

There is no official, central register of name changes in the UK. You do not need to officially register your Deed Poll anywhere.

You may hear of some Deed Polls being ‘enrolled’. This means they are lodged in the Enrolment Books of the Supreme Court of Judicature. This is something of a historical oddity and carries no legal benefit but does carry a hefty expense. If you want to blow some money you can find out more about Deed Polls and the Enrolment Books.

Or you can save your money for something that really matters and change your name officially by Deed Poll by downloading our Deed Poll Kit now.

Maybe we should ask why not change your name? Because there are hundreds of different reasons why people change their names officially by Deed Poll. Here are just some.

  • Many people do change their name for no other reason than they fancy it. 
  • A mother may wish all her children to have the same surname. 
  • Others change their name during a divorce, such as a woman reverting to her maiden name.
  • Some simply prefer their middle name to their first name. 
  • Many couples opt for a hyphenated surname (Smith-Jones etc) on marriage or a Civil Partnership. 
  • Transsexuals may wish for a more feminine or masculine name. 
  • Or maybe you’ve always just fancied being known as Long John Silver?

Whatever your reason you can change your name officially using our Change Your Name Officially by Deed Poll Kit.

No you do need a solicitor to witness your Deed Poll. 

Just follow the instructions contained in our Deed Poll Kit and your name change will be official and accepted by all official organisations.

Anyone can witness your Deed Poll as long as they are over 18 years old and they know you but are ‘independent’ of you. This simply means they are not related or in a relationship with you. A friend, neighbour or work mate is perfect!

When your partner dies, you would inherit the house. But because you are not married or in a civil partnership, you will not have any rights to anything which is your partner's alone. 

Marriage would make a difference but you both need to make a will – otherwise, the rules of intestacy apply.

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