Legal protection for unmarried couples who live together?

Lydia Andrews, Family Solicitor at WSP Solicitors

Almost one in ten people in the UK are doing it right now. It’s the fastest-growing type of family in the UK. Cohabitation – unmarried couples living together – has been on the rise for a long time now, but the law has not caught up.

Research in 2013 suggested that 47% of us believe that there is something called ‘common law marriage’ and it gives cohabitees rights equivalent to marriage. Unfortunately, it is a myth. Cohabitees do not have any more legal rights than friends who live together.

Things are a bit better if the couple have children, but only in limited ways and certainly not in all of the ways that people may expect.

As family lawyers, we often see the struggles faced by our clients when their cohabiting relationship breaks down and the law does not protect them in the ways they thought it would. Resolution, a national organisation of 6,500 family lawyers, is calling for changes to the law to address this. They are campaigning for a legal framework that gives rights and responsibilities to both parties when cohabiting couples separate.

This week is Resolution’s Good Divorce Week. As members of Resolution, we are supporting their campaign in the hope of finding #abetterway for our clients. Find out more

Watch out for our other articles coming out daily this week!

If you would like to get in touch with our specialist family law team, please contact us.

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