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Common Law Marriage is a MYTH

Despite the 18th August being set to be the most popular day of the year for couples to marry, the overall amount of couples choosing to marry is decreasing. Official statistics from the Office of National Statistics show that one in eight people in England and Wales are in a cohabitating relationship which is the fastest growing family type.

What these cohabitating couples do not seem to consider is the risk should the relationship break down. There is a common misconception that cohabitating couples will automatically qualify for the same protection and rights in law to married couples once they have lived together for a certain amount of time. Unfortunately this could not be further from the truth. Current law does not provide for any protection for a cohabitating partner on relationship breakdown.

For this reason, Resolution, an organisation that represents family lawyers in England and Wales, has been campaigning for a change in the law. Until such changes, couples with young children, where one partner has given up work to look after the child could be left in financial difficulties if the other parent decides to leave. The absent parent would have no responsibility to the resident parent and would only have to provide for the child under current law. Most commonly this causes issues with property ownership where only one party is the legal owner yet the other has paid contributions for many years.

Until the law changes, there are some protective measures that can be put in place in case of relationship breakdown. At Eric Robinson Solicitors we can discuss your options at an initial interview whereby the advice given may be that a co-habitation Agreement should be drafted, or a change in the ownership of the property or in the least protecting an investment.  If you require expert advice then please contact one of the experts in the Family Department.