Many of our previous posts on this blog have warned against the myth of “Common Law Marriage” and advised people against the trap of believing they acquire extra rights or protection, simply by living with a partner, even over many years.
The problems caused by this common misunderstanding are being highlighted by the Lib Dems at their annual conference this week, with a debate on the issue.
A recent survey of MPs undertaken by Family Law Charity, Resolution, revealed that almost 70% agree there is a widespread misunderstanding of the law, and that almost 60% believe the law should be changed to redress the huge gap in protection as between married and co-habiting couples.
It is estimated that there are around 6 million couples living together in the UK and so this is an issue which affects a large percentage of the population. The current debate focuses upon whether the issue of Cohabitation is best dealt with by way of education, so that couples know where they stand and can take steps to protect their position in the event of a split, or whether the law should be changed in order to grant them the protection many believe they have.
Whilst the issue may be at the forefront of Family Law debate at present, it is likely to be quite some time before any change, if sanctioned, is implemented, and anyone currently living with their partner, or thinking of doing so, is always advised to seek legal advice from a Family and Personal Matters Solicitor so they understand the financial implications and what options are available to protect them in the event of a separation.