There is a legal distinction between married couples and civil partners, and cohabitants. However, this does not mean that cohabiting couples do not need to seek legal advice if their relationship ends.
Cohabitation contracts, which regulate arrangements for children and property, are beginning to receive acceptance from the courts. However, the government has not yet sought to legislate in this area, despite the fact that cohabitation is on the rise. Nevertheless, cohabitants may still be able to prove a financial entitlement to a property, or a share from its proceeds of sale. This could be the case if you can show that you contributed financially at the outset of the purchase, or that you and your partner expressed an intention to share the property. Where children are involved, parties can seek to formalise and agree arrangements between themselves or using solicitors, or a court application can be made.