I can provide advice to those couples who are about to embark on cohabitation, or for those cohabiting couples whose relationship has been brought to an end. Whether you are cohabiting, or simply in an unmarried relationship, I can advise you on how to make the law best work for you.
More and more couples are shying away from marriage, and the number of marriages taking place each year is certainly declining. By contrast cohabitation figures are on the up.
Contrary to public belief there is no such thing as ‘common law marriage’- it is a myth. There is no common law wife. You cannot be a common law husband. There is no law in place that covers the financial needs of a cohabiting couple, should that relationship come to an end. Cohabitees in law do not have the same entitlements in terms of financial provision, as those couples who are married. A financially dependent cohabitee may be left in a very vulnerable position should their relationship break down, as there is no law in place that would oblige the financially secure cohabitee to provide for them- they could be left with nothing.
It is important that potential cohabitees are transparent with one another at a very early stage, so as to avoid costly litigation ensuing should the relationship come to an end. Everyone should know where they stand, and be aware of the financial implications of the relationship breakdown.
If you are not planning to marry, but you are about to move in with your partner, you should take steps to ensure you, and any minor children of the relationship, are protected as far as possible. Entering into a Cohabitation Agreement can assist, as it will specifically highlight how any property or assets should be owned. I can provide you with specific advice as to entering into a Cohabitation Agreement. I can also draft the Agreement, and provide expert advice as to its legal effect.
I can also provide guidance to those unmarried individuals who find themselves in a situation where their relationship has broken down, and they are unaware of the options available to them, be it in relation to property, or any children of the relationship. Various remedies are available be it under complex trusts law or by virtue of the Children Act 1989, to those of you who find yourself in this situation. Make sure you take legal advice at the earliest opportunity to ensure your interest, and the interests of any children, are met.