Today there are over 2 million couples co-habiting. Of these nearly half have a dependent child or children. It is a common misunderstanding that when couples live together they enter into a "Common law marriage" and become "Common law spouses" once they have been living together over a period of time.
Couples co-habiting often also think that they are entitled to finances or property relating to the relationship. This is not the case.
We can advise you on and prepare a co-habitation or pre-nuptial agreement.
If need not be complex or expensive but it will reflect the value of your assets and complexity of the relationship.
When a co-habitation relationship breaks down there are still many issues which require consideration particularly with regard to the home and the children. There is also the question of financial matters and although these are different than divorce it is still a good idea in our view to take independent legal advice.
To claim an interest in property you will often have to rely upon trust issues which can be very complex. Expert advice is always required in this circumstance.
There are now Civil Partnerships following the Civil Partnership Act 2004. This enables couples of the same sex to enter into a Civil Partnership or marriage.
Termination of Civil Partnerships is carried out by a Dissolution Order. This is similar to the divorce procedure and relies on one of the four reasons or "facts" these are:
- • Unreasonable behaviour
- • 2 years separation with consent to a dissolution
- • 5 separation without such consent
- • 2 years desertion
The one difference is that whilst marriages may rely upon adultery to establish an irretrievable breakdown of their marriage this option is not open to a civil partner. In this instance, such a person may seek to rely upon the adultery as behaviour as a grounds for a divorce/dissolution.
Where there are such proceedings then there may be financial claims similar to those in divorce. A person in this situation should seek expert legal advice from a specialist firm such as ourselves.