The Common Law Marriage Myth. What Rights do you have?

The Common Law Marriage Myth. What Rights do you have?
29 Aug 2018

Recent statistics show that over 90% of unmarried couples are surprised to discover their lack of rights in relation to pensions, property or income, even if they have been living with their partner for a number of years.

Breaking down the ‘Common Law Marriage Myth,’ we’ve asked our Head of Family Law Emma Hamilton Cole to answer some commonly asked questions. She is keen to raise awareness for this myth and to help unmarried couples take simple steps to protect themselves and their families.

Do cohabitating couples have the same rights as married couples?

“Out of the 6.6 million cohabiting adults in the UK, only one couple in three knows there is no such thing as a Common Law Marriage. In many areas of the law, cohabitants enjoy no special rights. Presuming that you and your partner break up, you won’t be entitled to share (what you thought were) your joint assets, such as a house you may have made financial contributions to, if you aren’t named as an owner on the deed. This is the same regardless of how long you’ve been together or whether you have children.’’

What can unmarried cohabiting couples do to protect themselves?

“If you are in an unmarried relationship and have made signification contributions in terms of your personal finances, you must take appropriate actions to protect your interests in the event of a break-up. I personally suggest signing a cohabitation agreement.  This is an easy and cost-effective way to get peace of mind without getting married or forming a civil partnership.’’

What can I do to find out more about my rights?

“Come see us and we will be delighted to speak to you about your specific circumstances. Experts in Family Law, both myself and Charlotte Millard are trained Mediators and members of Resolution a 6500 strong group of Family Law professionals in the UK. Whether you are in a cohabiting relationship or going through a divorce we can help you to understand what claims may or may not be available to you following separation.’’

To find out more or to speak to our Family Law department, call 01202 484242 or email: