Cohabiting couple families
6th March, 2015
Cohabiting couple families are the fastest growing family type in the UK, but does this make a common law marriage?
The Office of National Statistics has recently published annual statistics on varying family types in the UK. This year’s data found that cohabiting couple families grew by almost 30% over the decade to 2014, making it the fasting growing family type in the UK. Overall, cohabiting couples make up 16% of family types in the UK.
There is a common misconception amongst a large proportion of the UK population that living with a partner can lead to a ‘common law marriage’, presenting the same legal rights as marriage itself.
On the contrary, the financial orders available to married couples simply do not apply to cohabiting couples. Instead, cohabiting couples must rely on complex law that has developed over time, and continues to develop, leaving a greater sense of uncertainty for separating cohabitees.
Whilst no doubt individuals are committed to their partners and intend their cohabitation to be an enduring family relationship, it is important for those intending to cohabit to consider options available to protect their position. We would recommend that parties enter into a Cohabitation Agreement to expressly set out the arrangements which will apply whilst they live together, as well as their respective rights in the unfortunate event of a relationship breakdown.
The significant increase in cohabiting couple families has led to many commentators saying that the archaic legislation needs updating. The Cohabitation Rights Bill has been in parliament for some time now, but with the forthcoming election, we may see further developments.
For further information and advice in relation to options for the cohabiting couples or the consequences of a relationship breakdown, please contact Richard Barge on 01244 405443 or send an email to [email protected]
You might also be interested in...
3rd July, 2020
Brief Background Mr & Mrs Villier married in 1995, and lived in Scotland together until separation in 2012. Once separated, the wife moved to England, but the husband remained living in Scotland. In July 2013 the wife issued a divorce petition in England, but in October 2014 the husband lodged a writ for divorce in Scotland. As the... Read More »
1st July, 2020
Agricultural property relief from Inheritance Tax has long been a valuable relief for estates, which when available can... Read More »
29th June, 2020
In May 2020 the UK Government released additional guidance in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic, this time in... Read More »