Almost six million couples are in cohabiting relationships in England and Wales. Yet despite the increasing popularity of this relationship arrangement, the belief that people who live with a partner for a couple of years gain the same rights as if they were married or in a civil partnership still persists.
There is no such thing as a common law marriage and cohabiting couples have fewer rights than married couples or those in civil partnerships. Unfortunately, people often only discover this when the relationship breaks down or one partner dies.
If you live together as a couple, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your partner and the Family Law team at Mackrell Turner Garrett in central London and Surrey can help. Because every cohabiting couple’s situation is different, our expert legal advice can be invaluable in protecting both partners’ interests.
A co-habitation agreement, like a pre-nuptial agreement, can protect both you and your partner from whatever might happen to your relationship in the future. This is a good idea at any stage in a cohabiting relationship, whether you are just moving in together or have lived as a couple for many years.
Such an agreement will help you to fairly share the costs of living together and protect assets or property owned before you lived together or jointly acquired.
Co-habitation agreements are not binding on the courts, but seeking legal advice when you make the agreement gives it more weight and having the agreement drafted by a solicitor as a formal legal deed would make it legally binding in the same way as any other legal contract between two people.
It is also important to remember that if you die without making a will, under the laws of intestacy, your cohabiting partner may have a claim on your estate, depending on how long you have been together and whether they are a dependent.
Our team can work with you to put in place wills that provide financial stability and peace of mind for you and your partner, set out arrangements for the future care of any children in the event you both pass away and ensures your estates are distributed in the way that you want. We have will writing specialists in both Central London and Surrey who can assist.
Our Family Law specialists include:
For more information on our Family Law services in central London and Surrey, please contact us.