Cohabitation is when a couple are living together but are not married. Normally, couples who live together will have fewer legal rights than those who are married.
You may hear people refer to cohabitees as common-law partners. Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a ‘common-law’ marriage in England and Wales.
Many people mistakenly believe that if their relationship were to come to an end, they would have legal protection that would be very similar to a married couple’s legal protections. This is not the case. As such, many people may be putting their financial situation at risk – and could even lose the roof over their head – should their partner die or their relationship break down.
There is no specific law for dealing with separating cohabiting partners in England and Wales. This means that if a couple who have been cohabiting decide to separate and then get into a dispute, a number of different and often very complex areas of law can come into play.
As a result, it is important to make sure that you fully understand the legal implications of moving in with a partner before living together. An experienced solicitor should be able to advise you on your own individual circumstances.
Moving in with a partner is a big step in a relationship. When considering cohabitation, it’s important to think about how this move could affect your finances.
Contemplating cohabiting with your other half? We examine what counts as cohabitation, how moving in with a partner could impact your finances and what precautions you should consider taking before you take the leap.
A couple are considered to be cohabiting when they live together but are not married.
Cohabitation in this sense refers to two people who are in a relationship and are living in the same property. If you are married, this is not considered cohabitation and different laws apply.
Cohabiting couples generally have fewer legal rights than married couples.
There are specific laws which deal with the breakdown of a marriage (divorce law). However, there are no equivalent laws for cohabitees in England and Wales.
As a result, if the relationship of two people who have been living together breaks down and they cannot agree what should happen to, for example, the property they were living in, they could have to rely on various different and often complicated areas of law to help resolve their dispute.
There is a lot of confusion over cohabitation laws in the UK, with many people believing that cohabitation laws in England and Wales include some kind of ‘common-law marriage’. In fact, this is not the case.