Resolution, a community of 6,500 family law professionals committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes, instructed Whitestone Insight to carry out a nationwide poll which reported that around half (47%) of cohabitees are unaware that they lack rights should they split up.
When polled, results found that:
· 59% of people back better legal protections for cohabiting people.
· 74% of cohabitees agree that ‘the current laws surrounding cohabitation are unfit for today’s modern society’.
· 75% of Resolution members said they support a change in the law to provide basic rights to cohabiting couples.
Asked about their concerns in the event of a relationship ending, 35% of people said they feared having nowhere to live – if a property is in one partner’s name the other partner has no automatic claim on it in the event of a breakup. One in three said they feared significant financial hardship.
50% of cohabitees said they had no plans to get married, while 34% said they do not believe in marriage. Over a third said they chose to spend money on a deposit for a house or flat instead of a wedding, while 28% said they started a family instead.
Unmarried couples are surprised by their lack of legal rights. Many unmarried couples believe that they do not need to put their affairs in order and are already protected as “common law spouses.” However, there is no such thing as a common law marriage. Unfortunately, cohabitation does not create legal entitlements, which can be potentially detrimental for people when the relationship ends.
What can Bromleys do to help?
Bromleys can draw up cohabitation agreements, which are legal documents that set out each parties’ assets and how they will be divided in the event of the relationship coming to an end. Cohabitation agreements can potentially save thousands in legal fees and avoid expensive court proceedings.
If you’d like to draw up a cohabitation agreement, call Keith Bull, Head of Department for the Family Team and accredited specialist in cohabitation disputes by Resolution, on 0161330 6821 or email him on email@example.com.