Unmarried and living together? Here’s a list of varied financial, property, and parental rights you definitely need to be aware of.

What are the financial rights for cohabiting unmarried couples?

You’re enjoying life with the partner of your dreams. You’re not staying with parents or in-laws and you’re under no obligation to attend social functions. Sounds like heaven? Well, a live-in relationship can be described as marriage minus societal obligations. 

However, this dreamy picture can easily fade. Every couple goes through ups and downs in their relationship. If you are one half of an unmarried couple, knowing your financial rights is not about being pessimistic; rather, it’s about being prepared if your relationship hits a rocky phase. 

Here are some rights cohabiting couples (couples who live together but aren’t married) enjoy:

1. Financial rights

Unmarried couples do not enjoy the same financial rights as married couples if they part ways. There is no legal requirement for spousal support when an unmarried couple breaks up. One of the major reasons for this is that both parties enjoy financial independence and hence there is no financial responsibility to another partner when they separate.

If you are in such a relationship, remember to keep your finances in check. Some cohabiting couples have children and their financial rights differ from spousal rights. Children are entitled to financial support from the other partner even after separation. This is because all parents have a financial responsibility to their children. 

A joint bank account is a popular way for cohabiting couples to manage their finances, but this can become a source of confusion in the event of a breakup. Both partners have equal rights to the money in the bank account and can spend it in whichever way they want. Also, bear in mind that one partner’s poor credit score can affect other’s score. 

2. Property rights

Similar to financial rights, unmarried couples do not enjoy the same rights as married couples when it comes to property. The rule for cohabiting couples is that they have no right over each other’s property on separation. This rule applies to small assets such as home decor as well as big assets such as house property.

Sometimes, a cohabiting couple owns the property by way of a trust, i.e. the property is owned by one partner and the other shares an interest in it by making certain financial contributions to it. In such cases, both partners are the beneficiaries of such trust irrespective of title ownership.

3. Parental rights

When it comes to parental rights, unmarried mothers naturally and automatically acquire them on the birth of the child. Unmarried fathers, however, have to acquire parental responsibility. This can be done by registering their name jointly in the child’s birth certificate. 

Parental responsibility is imperative because in the event of separation, both parents can have the right to make decisions for the children. When an unmarried couple opts for joint name registration in child’s birth certificate, they ensure that the child’s future is secured, with both the parents having equal responsibilities.

Also, in case of death of one partner, a joint name registration allows the other partner to take responsibility for the child, which can simplify an otherwise complex situation.


It is always better to be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances. Cohabiting couples should, therefore, manage their finances, property ownership, and child documents in sync with the rights available to them. Doing so will not only ensure clarity in the present but also guarantee security in the future.