With the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics confirming that the number of people marrying has declined constantly for the past ten years, and that a substantial number of marriages do end in divorce, it may not be surprising that the growing trend has been that couples tend to live together, sometimes for long periods of time, with ten percent of all adults estimated to be in a cohabiting relationship.
What many people do not realise is that there is a marked difference between how these two types of relationship, marriage and cohabitation, are treated in law if the relationship ends. The myth of a common law spouse simply does not exist and the protection afforded to married couples is very different from cohabiting couples.
It is essential to obtain legal advice at the earliest possible opportunity, including considering entering into a cohabitation agreement, which enables you to agree how you want matters to be dealt with should the relationship break down in future.
For further information, please contact a specialist member of the family & divorce team.
Click here to read a related article on cohabitation agreement.