Living Together – Minimising Disputes on Separation
The latest statistical release by the Office for National Statistics has revealed that the number of opposite sex cohabiting couple families has increased significantly from 2.2 million to 2.9 million in 2013.
This trend is likely to continue as more couples are choosing not to enter into the formality of marriage.
I have observed a marked increase in enquiries from former cohabitants, many of whom falsely believe that they are protected by ‘common law marriage’, when in fact such a concept does not exist.
Such couples do not have the protection of a system of law available to married couples and are therefore much more vulnerable on the break up of a relationship or the death of one party.
Entering into a cohabitation contract will hopefully minimise possible areas of dispute and enable any future separation to take place with less acrimony. It is my view that couples should be encouraged to enter into such an agreement, which not only takes account of their individual circumstances, but also makes them aware of areas that might not otherwise have occurred to them e.g. payment of mortgage, ownership of contents, liability for credit.
It is also essential that couples living together both make Wills, because of the lack of protection under the Intestacy Rules.
For advice on any matters relating to a cohabiting relationship, please contact Liz Hebden on 01756 700200 or [email protected]
For advice on making a Will, please contact Maxine Worrall on 01943 609969 or [email protected]