What are cohabiting rights?
Today one in six couples cohabit. There is a common myth that there is the concept of common law husband and wife when an unmarried couple live together for a period of time. There is no such concept of this in law, and therefore the rights a married couple are entitled to are not the same as cohabiting rights.
People who live together are known as cohabitees. Under the current law cohabiting rights are limited regardless of how long people have lived together.
How can I claim cohabiting rights?
Cohabitation Agreements can be put together, prior to moving in with someone or whilst living with someone. They provide both parties cohabiting rights and ensure that in the event of a relationship breakdown both parties are protected.
A Cohabitation Agreement will cover issues such as;
- What happens to any joint assets / property in the event of a relationship breakdown?
- How will bills, mortgage, and debts be split and sorted in the event of a relationship breakdown?
What about the children?
If your relationship ends you also need to consider if there are children involved, who has Parental Responsibility and future care and contact. Often this can involve applying to the Court for a Contact Order.
What to do next about cohabiting rights?
For the time being, the government has not provided a statutory resolution to the problems resulting in the breakdown of unmarried couples.
A positive way forward however for anyone in an unmarried relationship or about to enter into one, would be to consider entering into a formal Cohabitation Agreement through solicitors. This provides both parties with the financial security they can both rely on during their relationship and in the event of a breakdown.
The case study provides a very good insight into the consequences of not having a Cohabitation Agreement and the downfall of cohabiting rights.
For further information on how we can help please contact the Ringrose Law family team in Boston, Grantham, Lincoln, Sleaford, Spalding & Newark