The myth of the ‘Common Law Marriage’


In a shocking revelation, almost half of the public in England and Wales believe that individuals who live together have a ‘common law marriage'. A ‘common law marriage’ simply does not exist under the jurisdiction of England and Wales. Under the current law, couples who cohabit unfortunately do not enjoy the same rights as couples who are married.  In fact the rights are vastly different. In practice, cohabitees can only exercise rights for the benefit of any children of the family or in relation to property under Trust Law.

Cohabiting couples are now the fastest growing household in England and Wales and there is urgent need for reform in the law to keep up with current societal norms.

In light of this growing issue, Resolution Cohabitation Chair Graeme Fraser said recently:

"The figures released by NatCen underline precisely why a change in the law is so desperately needed. Despite the absence of legal protection for cohabitants regularly hitting the headlines, levels of awareness are still worryingly low. This is something Resolution and others have been warning government about for years.

"With cohabiting couples the fastest growing family type in England and Wales, it's time for the government to grasp the nettle and introduce at least some basic legal rights. Otherwise millions of cohabitants continue to be at risk, and could be left with a nasty shock if their partner passes away, or their relationship comes to an end".

The Family Department at ITN Solicitors can help you navigate the issues arising from cohabitation.  For further information please contact Mitali Zakaria, Linda Lusingu or Somia Siddiq at ITN Solicitors.

Article written by Priyanka Chakravarty


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