The myth of the Common Law Marriage
Figures published by the Office of National Statistics reveal that in 2016 there were approximately 3.3 million cohabiting couple families in the UK. Despite the urban myth that if you are together for 2 years, under the law of England and Wales, there are no such things as a “common law marriage” or “common law husband and wife”. At present, should these cohabiting couples separate, they currently have little or no legal protection.
Under current cohabitation law it is possible for couples to live together for a number of years, and upon the relationship breaking down, for one party to simply walk away without taking any responsibility for their former partner. It is important to ensure arrangements are in place to regulate the terms of your cohabitation, ownership of the family home and what should happen if the relationship were to break down or your partner were to pass away.
If you separate when you are not married, there are a number of legal provisions that apply. Mediation provides a forum to deal with these different legal provisions in one place.
There are different legal provisions in respect of children and any obligations a parent has towards them, and a former partner cannot simply absolve themselves of all responsibility on the breakdown of a relationship. It is important that you are aware of these obligations so you can make informed decisions in the best interests of your children.
We offer an initial one hour initial consultation at £100.00 plus VAT at 20% (so a total of £120.00). This includes a letter to you to confirm the advice given during the appointment. During such an appointment we would be able to advise you about the applicable law and possible outcomes; the various ways your case could be funded; and give a general estimate about the costs involved.