Are you cohabiting? Know your rights

Many couples choose to live together instead of committing to marriage.

There is a long established myth that a man and woman living together acquire a special legal status of ‘common law’ husband or wife.  Such a status does not exist and it is usually only on the breakdown of a relationship that unmarried couples become aware of the limited legal rights they have.

There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself:-

  • Buying a home – ensure that any ownership of a home is clearly set out in the deeds.
  • Draw up a Cohabitation Agreement – matters such as financial arrangements, ownership of property and child arrangements can be included.
  • Make a Will – this is imperative if you want your partner to benefit from any of your assets or to have a right to live in your home.
  • Children – if you are the father of children and you are not married to the mother, you may not automatically have parental responsibility, ie. the right to be consulted about major decisions such as schooling/religion/medical treatment.

Each case is unique and expert family legal advice should be sought.

For further information please contact our Head of Family Law, Liz Hebden to arrange an introductory meeting for a fixed fee of £100
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