February 28, 2017

Cohabit or Marry?

Written by Sara Plant

The wedding season is nearly upon us but these days many more couples decide to cohabit rather than tying the knot. However, it is important to know that being unmarried can create a financial disadvantage should the relationship fail in the future.
In the eyes of the law, there is no such thing as a common-law husband or wife. If you are not married you cannot necessarily claim a share of your partner’s income, capital or pension upon separation, no matter how long you have been together or how many children you may have between you.
If your partner passes away whilst paying into a work place pension, unlike a married person, you would not be entitled to receive anything unless you have previously been nominated to receive a Death in Service benefit.
You will not enquire an interest in your partner’s house unless you and your partner have specifically entered into a Declaration of Trust putting the property in joint names. Unless you can show that you have made an identifiable financial contribution or contribution by way of physical labour to the property such as carrying out renovations yourself, you will not be able to show that you have an interest in the property that is not in your name.
If you are not married, you will not be able to make a claim for spousal maintenance for yourself from your former partner, even if they were the main breadwinner and your career has been on hold whilst you care for children. If you have dependent children together you can claim child maintenance via the Child Maintenance Service.
Some partners decide to enter into a Cohabitation Agreement which will set out contributions and expectations and what should happen in the event of the breakdown of the relationship.
If you are unsure of your position, please come and see us at Peter Lynn & Partners where we have a team of very experienced Family Lawyers to assist you. Call 01792 450010 or email [email protected]