More people than ever before are cohabiting. But do you know which rights you do and don’t have, as an unmarried couple?
Marriage rates are at their lowest since the ‘80s and more people than ever are perfectly happy cohabiting, instead.
However, unmarried couples are often surprised to learn that their ‘Common-law Husband or Wife’ doesn’t exist. Not in the eyes of the law, anyway.
As was the case for one Mother we worked with this month:
The lady had moved into her partner’s house, they had three children together and preferred not to marry. Sadly, the relationship ended 10 years in and she came to us to discuss the division of the couple’s assets.
The sad news was that she wasn’t entitled to anything beyond Child Support. It was a horrible blow during an already emotional time.
Legally, there’s no such thing as a ‘Common-law Spouse’
It’s not clear where this misconception came from (although it’s widespread). Many people believe that living together for a long time gives them the same rights as a marital spouse, especially if children are involved. But this simply isn’t the case – our laws haven’t yet caught up with the trend in cohabitation.
Cohabiting couples do have options, though:
Cohabitation Agreements are little known tools to help protect the interests of unmarried couples. Drawn up as early on as possible, this legal agreement helps couples to deal with potential issues in the event of a relationships breakdown.
The cost varies depending on what is involved and the work required. The first step is a one hour fixed fee appointment where we can assess your circumstances. We will then explain the costs involved and give you information about the funding options available to you.