1. There’s no such thing as common law marriage but there are steps you can take to protect yourself. Couples who live together have only a fraction of the protection afforded to those who are married.
2. Unless your home is in joint names, and there’s a declaration of trust, there’s no automatic right to a share, or a fair share. If the worst comes to the worst it may be possible to come to an agreement by negotiation, mediation or collaborative law (or even by going to court) but it’s a legal minefield.
3. Update your Wills regularly. If your partner doesn’t leave a Will you may end up with nothing and face a complicated and expensive application to the court with no guarantee of the outcome you expected.
4. Children of separating cohabitees are treated the same when it comes to arrangements for where they’re going to live and who they’re going to see, and the Child Maintenance Service (the Child Support Agency) can help if the absent parent isn’t paying up. But there are significant differences when it comes to lump sum payments, property orders and extra maintenance, and there are special provisions under Schedule 1 of the Children Act.
5. Nowadays pensions are of utmost importance. Would you be entitled to your late partner’s pension? It’s not guaranteed so don’t leave anything to chance, find out now.
6. A cohabitation agreement offers some protection but will need regular updating and won’t be binding in court proceedings, particularly if there’s a change in circumstances such as the arrival of children. It also won’t cover for example your entitlement to your partner’s pension if your partner dies before you.
Phone me on 01962 217640 for a free 20 minute consultation on these important issues.
JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family law solicitors offering personalised legal solutions.
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The topics covered in this blog post are complex and are provided for general guidance only. If any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog might have application to you, you should seek expert legal advice.
Pair of Mandarins by Francis C. Franklin on WikiMedia Commons