Valemus’ Julia Cluley and Joanna Abrahams wrote an article that explains the misconceptions many have about the law relating to cohabiting couples.
In their piece, which was published by the IFA magazine for financial and investment professionals, divorce and family law specialist Julia and Joanna, a family and children expert, detail the rights of those who have been cohabiting when such a relationship ends.
With the UK currently having 3.6 million cohabiting families – a 22.9% increase over the past decade – Julia and Joanna explain the law regarding the division of assets, a common law spouse’s absence of rights and the value of cohabitation agreements.
They outline how, when a couple’s relationship breaks down, the court will make the children involved the first priority but will also assess factors such as housing needs, what each person earns and health issues. Courts have extensive powers to transfer marital assets such as a house, savings, a car or even a business and can set maintenance to ensure a partner in the relationship has enough income to meet their needs.
But Julia and Joanna emphasise that a person is not entitled to the property or income that belongs to their former partner unless their name is on the assets, such as the title deeds to the family home. This lack of legal protection can make it worthwhile for anyone moving in with someone to seek advice about entering into a cohabitation agreement with their partner. This will set out the terms on which they live together and who is entitled to certain assets if the relationship ends.
Such agreements are not enforceable in the court but can be of use when it comes to dividing assets – which is important as cohabiting couples do not have the same rights as married couples.
You can read Joanna’s and Julia’s full article here.