Time to dispel the myth…there is no such thing as a common law wife/husband!
The lack of rights afforded to couples who live together but are not married is a hot topic at the moment. Family law organisations such as Resolution are campaigning for cohabiting couples to protect themselves in situations where they live together, have children together or have agreements in respect of who pays for what as the legal situation is not always as it seems. There is certainly no such thing as a common law wife or husband.
Melanie Hartley is a Partner of our firm and specialises in Divorce and Financial Remedy. Melanie says that she has advised many people after being in long term relationships who believe that they have acquired rights with one another, due to the fact that they have bought a house together or had children together or even supported each other financially. However, this is not the case. Cohabitees cannot acquire pension rights or an ability to claim against each other’s income or property, unless they specifically protect themselves.
There are ways in which to do this, which could involve the drawing up of a Cohabitation Agreement or a Declaration of Trust but not many people realise the importance of doing so until it’s too late.
Melanie endorses the campaign brought by Resolution and encourages all cohabiting couples to assess their circumstances and seek legal advice. If you require legal help or advice, get in touch with Melanie on 01484 538 421.