This is not true!
There is no such thing as a common law marriage in England and Wales
As an unmarried partner, your rights are limited and matters could get complicated should the relationship end. A few things to consider:
- Children: If you have a child with your partner, the father won’t automatically have parental responsibility unless named on the birth certificate OR there is a parental responsibility agreement OR there is a court order.
- Money: There is no right to maintenance to/from your partner. There may be claims that can be made for the child such as child maintenance which can be calculated through the government website here and/or financial provision under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989, but again this is only for the benefit of any children.
- Property: If renting jointly, there is no automatic right to transfer the tenancy. If the tenancy is in one person’s name, the other party does not have an automatic right to occupy unless successful in obtaining a court order.
If the property is owned then rights are governed by the complicated laws relating to trusts rather than family law principles of needs and sharing.
So…what can you do to protect yourself?
- Consider making provision for your partner in your will.
- Consider nominating your partner as a beneficiary of your workplace pension.
- Consider entering into a Cohabitation Agreement. A Cohabitation agreement can stipulate rights and responsibilities during cohabitation and upon relationship breakdown. The agreement can be entered into before you start living together or any time during the cohabitation.
Our Family Law solicitors can assist you with drafting and providing legal advice on the terms of a Cohabitation Agreement. Visit our Family page and contact one of our specialist team here.