Category: Cohabiting Couples

Unmarried cohabiting couples are the UK’s fastest growing family type

The typical family in the UK is changing, as more opposite-sex couples than ever are choosing to live together without getting married.

According to research by the ONS, whilst married couple families remain the commonest family type, between 2008 and 2018 the number of cohabiting couples grew faster than the number of married couples.

The figures show that the overall number of families in the UK has increased by 8% over the last decade, with the number of cohabiting couples increasing by 25.8%.

Meanwhile, since same-sex marriage was introduced in 2014, the number of same-sex couples getting married has steadily increased each year. Same-sex couple families have grown by 50% since 2015 and the number of same-sex married couples has doubled since 2017.

The data also shows that there are now more people than ever before living alone in the UK.

Legal protection for cohabiting couples

With 3.3 million couples now cohabiting in the UK, there have been calls to review cohabitation laws to keep up with the nation’s changing lifestyle trends.
Currently, cohabiting couples do not have the same legal protection as married couples. With over half of cohabiting couples owning property and financial assets together, it’s important that they seek legal protection.

One way that those cohabiting can gain some financial protection and security is by creating a cohabitation agreement.

A cohabitation agreement can be used to agree details about financial commitments and assets both whilst living together and in the event of a separation. The kinds of things that may be included in an agreement include who owns what assets, who is to pay what towards bills and living expenses, and in the event of a separation, where children would live, how property would be divided, and how debt would be split.

For help and advice with a cohabitation dispute or creating a cohabitation agreement, get in touch with our team of specialists here at Lund Bennett Law by giving us a call on 0161 927 3118.

What is included in a cohabitation agreement?

Cohabiting couples do not have the same legal protection as married couples, but a cohabitation agreement can offer some protection.

A cohabitation agreement allows couples living together to agree their financial commitments and obligations to each other, to avoid disputes later down the line.

With more people than ever now choosing to cohabit, the lack of legal protection for cohabiting couples can make breakups fraught and messy.

To avoid stressful disputes, many cohabiting couples are now choosing to create a legal cohabitation agreement, to iron out the details about what would happen in the event of a relationship breakdown.

A cohabitation agreement gives couples the opportunity to discuss who owns what, how property and assets should be split, and how children will be supported, should they decide to part ways in the future.

Creating an agreement in advance usually results in fair and realistic decisions being made, which isn’t always the case in the midst of a relationship breakdown.

are a few things that you should sit down and discuss in detail before creating a cohabitation agreement.

Whilst you’re cohabiting:

  • Who owns what?
  • How will bills and living expenses be covered?

In the event of a separation:

  • How will your possessions and assets be divided?
  • How will property be divided?
  • Where would children live?
  • How will children be financially supported?
  • How would money in joint accounts be split?
  • How would overdrafts and debt be split?
  • Who owns each vehicle?

For a cohabitation to be legally binding, you will each need to be able to confirm that you have received independent legal advice and entered into the agreement voluntarily.

For help and advice with a cohabitation dispute or creating an agreement, get in touch with our team of specialists here at Lund Bennett Law by giving us a call on 0161 927 3118.

Woman collapses in court after judge rules that she did not have a claim for a half-share in her ex-boyfriend’s business

The harsh reality of a cohabitation separation hit Miss Turner hard as Judge Alan Johns QC ruled that her ex-boyfriend, Mr. Durant, had not promised to marry her and she did not have a claim for a half-share of his business. After judgment was delivered, Miss Turner fainted onto the desk in front of her and the case was adjourned while she received medical attention.

Mr. Durant and Miss Turner were in a relationship from the late 1980s to 2014 and had a child together however they never married.

Miss Turner claimed that Mr. Durant’s business was worth ‘millions’ and that he promised her a 50% share in the business. Miss Turner said that she put £200,000 life savings into buying their home and asked Mr. Durant to match that contribution however Mr. Durant said that he needed cash to grow his business and instead promised her a half share in his company.

The fact that Miss Turner could provide no documentary evidence in support of her claim meant that the judge decided that it was ‘inherently improbable’ that Mr. Durant ever made such a promise. The Judge also added that there was no imbalance between Miss Turner and Mr. Durant as he would be paying the £250,000 mortgage on their home.

This case highlights more than ever the importance of raising public awareness of the legal issues cohabiting couples face upon separation.

There is a widespread belief that a ‘common law’ marriage exists however the reality is that cohabiting couples are not afforded the same legal rights as their married counterparts when it comes to property and business ownership.

All of these uncertainties can be avoided by having a Cohabitation Agreement in place so that both you and your partner are clear about who walks away with what in the event of separation. To speak with one of our specialist Family Law solicitors about a Cohabitation Agreement please call 0161 927 3118.

Third Of Cohabiting Couples Remain Unsure About Property Rights

Many co-habiting couples enter into buying property believing that they will be entitled to the same rights as married couples yet the reality is this isn’t always the case.

The ongoing uncertainty has led to calls for a change in the law which would give co-habiting couples the same or at least similar rights to those enjoyed by married couples. According to a survey from YouGov of 1,000 co-habiting couples, 75% felt that they were entitled to be treated the same way as married couples.

Issues that are often not considered when people buy a home with a partner is how much of the house belongs to each partner. If a property is ultimately split 50/50 even though one partner invested the lions share into it, then this can be seen as very unfair.

A lot depends on circumstances with no automatic right to a share of the property.

With co-habiting couples now the fastest growing type of family in the UK, the current legislation will almost certainly lead to many more individuals suffering from unfair settlements simply because they were unsure of their rights to begin with.

Government initiatives such as Help to Buy have encouraged many people to climb onto the property ladder but for many, the first rung may be as far as they can get if they lose in a batlle to gain their fair share of a property.