Many couples live together without formalising their relationship by getting married or entering into a civil partnership.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a “common law” wife or husband and the law offers only limited legal remedies to cohabitees, even if you have lived together for several years.
Our specialist Family Team can advise on:
- Relationship Breakdown
- Cohabitation Agreements and Declarations of Trust
- Parenting issues
- Inheritance Issues
In the event that a relationship between an unmarried couple sadly breaks down, there is no legal right to share the other’s income or assets, such as pensions.
If there is a dispute in relation to any property owned in joint names, or the sole name of one, the law to be applied is complex and due for reform. In order to minimise the risk of costly litigation, you should seek legal advice at an early stage to establish the position and any steps that may need to be taken.
If you have children, it is also important to consider what financial provision can be made for them as well as parenting issues, such as the exercise of parental responsibility.
Cohabitation Agreements and Declarations of Trust
If your relationship has not broken down but you wish to reduce the risk of a dispute in the future, we strongly recommend that you enter into a Cohabitation Agreement, which is similar to a pre-nuptial agreement, and sets out your intentions in the event of separation. If you intend to purchase a property together, it is also important to consider entering into a Declaration of Trust to specify and safeguard yours and your partner’s interests.
Even if you are living together you are not considered to be your partner’s “next of kin”, so we recommend that you make Wills to ensure that you make adequate provision for each other in the event of death, and consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney.
If you and your partner are not married and you would like advice regarding your property rights, a Cohabitation Agreement or parenting issues, please contact one of our specialist family lawyers.