Is There Such a Thing as a Common Law Spouse?
In England and Wales, there is no such thing as a common law spouse. If you live with your partner but you are not married, you should consider getting a Cohabitation Agreement. So this helps prevent any cohabitation issues.
Family solicitors London
Speak to our family solicitors about a Cohabitation Agreement. They can talk you through the options available to you. or about a dispute with your ex-partner, contact us now. You can call us on 0333 009 6275. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Common law spouses and the law
Some countries, such as Canada, do recognise common law spouses. However, England and Wales do not. This is a common mistake that people in a relationship make. They believe that because they are living together, known as ‘cohabiting’, they enjoy the same legal rights as married couples. But this is not true.
Unlike married couples, cohabiting couples in England and Wales do not –
- Automatically inherit their partner’s assets when they die
- Have the right to claim spousal maintenance if their relationship ends
- Have a right to their partner’s assets. If their relationship comes to an end
Without the proper planning, this can create significant problems. For example, what if your partner dies without having made a Will? You will not be entitled to anything under the Rules of Intestacy, other than any property you own as joint tenants.
Or, what if you live in your partner’s house and your relationship comes to an end? In this scenario, you are not permitted to remain in the property, no matter how long you have lived there.
The only exceptions are where you have a beneficial interest in the property. Or you have children and it is better that they remain in the house with you. Even so, you must prove these things to the court.
Prevent cohabitation issues
To avoid these issues, it is prudent to put a Cohabitation Agreement in place. This verifies how your money, property and children should be managed, if your relationship ends.
Some may say it is unromantic. However, if you remain together, the agreement will never be needed. If you do split up, then you have already made all difficult decisions that are associated with the breakdown of a relationship. This helps to prevent a lengthy legal battle and creates a more amiable separation.
A Cohabitation Agreement can cover an array of decisions. Ideally including the division of savings, debts, property, pensions, business assets and vehicles. It can also set out child care arrangements and the custody of family pets.
So long as a Cohabitation Agreement is properly drafted, and each person seeks independent legal advice before signing. Only then it will it be upheld by the court.
If you want to speak to our family solicitors about a Cohabitation Agreement, Or if currently you are in dispute with your ex-partner. Contact our team now. You can call us on 0333 009 6275. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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