The marriage rate in England continues to fall, and the number of cohabiting couples is on the rise. However there is currently no law in England which helps a cohabiting couple if their relationship breaks down. The law doesn’t recognise “common law spouses” as people often think it does, that’s a common myth. Courts have much more limited powers available to them for cohabiting couples than married couples.
Cohabitation agreements will help deal with some of these issues, including:
Any advice is essential if unmarried couples are buying a property together. In the event of separation, formal separation agreements can be drafted to cover many of these issues, and protect both parties assets and rights. Unmarried couples with children are protected by the law in the same way that married couples are, providing they have parental responsibility. There is no distinction between them when considering who the child should live with or when and where the other parent will have contact.