Today marks the start of national Cohabitation Awareness Week which aims to raise awareness about the lack of rights that exist for unmarried couples who live together.
Led by Resolution, an organisation of 6,500 family lawyers who believe in a constructive, non-confrontational approach to family law matters; the week will shine a spotlight on unmarried couples who are at risk of losing everything if the relationship breaks down.
Sophie Pincott, partner and family law solicitor at Peter Lynn and Partners, commented “There are about 7 million people in the UK living in this type of relationship, making this the fastest growing family type in the country. Most couples we work with mistakenly believe that they acquire “common law” rights after living with their partner for a certain amount of time or having children together”.
“The sad reality is that unmarried couples in Wales have very limited legal rights and responsibilities towards each other if the relationship breaks down” continued Sophie.
Under the current law it’s possible to live with someone for decades – even to have children together – and then simply walk away without taking any responsibility for their partner.
As part of national Cohabitation Awareness Week, Resolution has joined with a range of organisations in calling for legal protection for these increasing numbers of people in the event of separation.
However, until the law changes, cohabiting couples need to be aware of their lack of rights and consider taking measures to protect themselves in case their relationship breaks down.
Sophie commented “The lack of legal protection means there are times when it can be very difficult to help individuals which is why I urge all cohabiting couples to consider taking out basic protections, such as a cohabitation agreement to protect both partners if they separate. By setting out your intentions in these documents, you’ll be in a much better situation if the unexpected happens”.
Resources are available on the Resolution website however you can also contact Sophie and the family law team at Peter Lynn and Partners to discuss a cohabitation agreement and look to prevent legal problems should the relationship breakdown.
Call 01792 450010 or email [email protected]