Your Rights and Protections As a Cohabiting Couple
According to recent studies, cohabiting couples represent nearly 18% of the UK population.
Cohabiting couples are those who live together without marrying. Under the current law that applies to cohabiting couples, there is little protection in the event of death or relationship breakdown, particularly where for example, the property is owned in one person’s name. Despite many people believing otherwise, there is no such thing as a common law wife or husband. Regardless of how long you have been in a relationship together or living together, you do not acquire the same rights and protections as a married couple.
The law which applies to a cohabiting couple who separate is trust law based and this area of law is complex and beset with technicalities. Such claims can be very costly due to the complexity of the law.
Many organisations, such as Resolution are campaigning for changes to the existing cohabitation laws which they say are outdated in our modern society. They argue that there are 3.3 million families who are currently cohabiting and that the laws need to change to provide legal protection for them. However, with no clear indication from the Government that any changes to the law are planned, we are stuck with the existing law.
If you are living with your partner or thinking about moving in together, you should consider entering into a Cohabitation Agreement or Living Together Agreement to protect your interests and to formalise your financial rights and responsibilities. Perhaps not particularly romantic, but certainly better than a potentially stressful and expensive dispute if your relationship does, unfortunately, break down.
At Wolferstans we can advise you on and prepare a Living Together Agreement. The Agreement can set out how you want to manage your money and property during the time that you are living together and also set out what will happen if you separate. These documents must be properly drafted and executed to ensure that they stand up to the scrutiny of the court, and you will both need independent legal advice about the implications of the Agreement.
If you are in any doubts regarding your rights as a cohabiting couple, please contact us at Wolferstans and we can advise you on the options available. Contact us on 01752 292285 to speak to one of our experienced family solicitors.