For many years family law groups have been campaigning for there to be a reform in the laws surrounding cohabitation.
It is no secret that in recent years, there has been a distinctive decline in the number of couples choosing to marry, and many couples are opting to remain as cohabitants. Cohabiting couples are arguably the fastest growing family dynamic in England and Wales, yet they lack even the most basic legal protections.
Cohabiting couples do not have the same rights and options as married couples in relation to the financial consequences of relationship breakdown. Sadly, this is something many couples only learn when matters are too late to remedy.
The Government have been urged to improve legal protections for cohabiting couples. The aim of the proposed scheme was to provide economically vulnerable members of society with the private means to rebuild their lives and ensure a fairer division of assets should the relationship break down. Such rights would apply to cohabitants who had a child or lived together for a specified number of years.
However, the government rejected the recommendation that such reform was required. The government said that existing work on the law of marriage and divorce must conclude before any changes to the law regarding cohabitants rights on relationship breakdown are considered. The government are reportedly focusing their attention upon the review on the law of financial provision on divorce.
If you are in a cohabiting couple, it is important that you understand the laws that apply, and do not apply, to you and how you can protect yourself if your relationship breaks down. This is particularly important should you own a property together or if you are considering purchasing a property together. Although it may seem unromantic, taking the appropriate steps to ensure protection and having a clear understanding of the financial dynamic from the outset of a cohabiting relationship can save any unwanted surprises or disputes in the unfortunate event of a relationship breakdown.
Until there is a change in the current law, we strongly recommend that you seek the assistance of one of our skilled professionals should you be in the process of commencing a cohabiting relationship or purchasing a property together to cohabit in.
Here at Sinclair Law, we have a team of highly skilled solicitors with over 25 years worth of experience dealing with family law matters. We pride ourselves on offering an understanding and empathetic approach and offering expert advice. Our high success rates have earned us the status of being one of Cheshire’s leading family solicitors.
If you are interested in speaking with one of our expert solicitors for a free 30-minute consultation, please contact the office on 01625 526 222 or complete the website contact form.