Menu Call Email

Need our help or advice?

02380 236025

The Specialists in Family Law...
Couple Going Through Separation And Divorce
Happy Couple Smiling - Cohabitation Agreements
Man Signing Contract - Bastow Wills
Couple Holding Hands - Post-Nuptial Agreements

The myths of cohabitation

The Myths of Cohabitation
Published: 5th July 2006 - Category: Cohabitation Agreements - Author: Lynne Bastow

Common Law Husband And Common Law Wife

There is no such thing as a Common Law Husband or Common Law Wife in English law. Couples who chose to live together without getting married do so without the benefit of matrimonial legislation and there is no notion of fairness or reasonableness built into the law. The rules that apply to determine the division of assets are exactly the same rules that would apply to two strangers happening to live under the same roof.

The Myths Of Cohabitation

Unmarried couples living together for a period of time acquire the same rights as married couples – THEY DO NOT

A cohabiting partner can claim maintenance from their partner if the relationship breaks down – THEY CANNOT (no matter how long they have lived together)

An unmarried partner’s name is not on the mortgage but she can claim an interest in the property because she has paid the utility and food bills for years and has decorated the house and paid for the carpets – SHE CANNOT (such payments are irrelevant)

An unmarried partner will automatically inherit the estate if their partner dies, so a will is unnecessary – THEY WILL NOT

Unmarried fathers have the same rights towards their children that unmarried mothers have – FREQUENTLY THEY DO NOT

What Can I Do?

Unmarried cohabitation is on the increase, as is relationship breakdown. Couples should properly record the shares in which the property is owned, nominate beneficiaries under pension policies and life assurance policies and make a will, especially if they have children.

Draw up a COHABITATION AGREEMENT. They have yet to be fully tested in court but provide useful evidence of a common intention.

Or… you could get married!

Meet Lynne Bastow

With over 17 years experience, Lynne can provide excellent and valuable advice and has a friendly, positive approach towards all her clients, ensuring you get the best service possible.

Read Lynne's Books

If you need more information on divorce, Lynne has published two informative guides on divorce, which you can purchase from Amazon.

The Little Book of Divorce

The Little Book of Divorce

Buy on Amazon
The Little Book of Divorce Dilemmas

The Little Book of Divorce Dilemmas

Buy on Amazon

Contact Bastows Solicitors.

Please contact our team if you need any help or advice. Simply complete the contact form below and someone will be in touch soon. The data you provide will only be used by Bastows Solicitors for the purpose of dealing with your enquiry and will not be shared with any third party.


Request a Callback.

If you would like a member of our team to call you, please complete the form below. The data you submit will only be used by Bastows Solicitors for the purpose of dealing with your enquiry and will not be shared with any third party.