In Celebrity Cohabitation News...
…and only days after she talked of marriage and baby No.2 being on the cards in the future.
OK, it’s a fair cop, it’s fake news - we made it up to get your attention (but for good reason, keep reading).
To our knowledge, Ben and Kristina are still very much in love, happy and living as a family together with their young daughter.
But as we approach Resolution’s Cohabitation Awareness Week (27th November to 1st December), we ask you – what if…?!
Like Ben and Kristina, many of us are choosing to live together out of wedlock.
In fact, cohabiting couples are now the fastest growing family type in the UK, with more than 6 million people living in this type of relationship, representing 17% of all families.
All jolly interesting in terms of our society’s development, but there’s one glaring problem – the law hasn’t caught up with this trend.
Currently, cohabitation gives no general legal status to a couple.
The ‘Common Law’ Myth
Many unmarried couples believe they have the same protection as married couples if they split up.
They do not.
Under current cohabitation law, it’s possible to live with someone for decades, even have children together and then simply walk away without taking any responsibility for a former partner if the relationship breaks down.
This can have a huge impact, catastrophic in some instances, on women and children, particularly in cases where a mother has given up or reduced her work to raise a family.
You may not have a right to a share in your home, even if you’ve made contributions, and you can’t claim maintenance from your partner (other than child maintenance) – both of which are only 2 of many examples of how you could find yourself in an extremely vulnerable position should you and your partner separate.
So, let’s clear this up once and for all: ‘Common Law Marriage’ is a myth. Fact!
Know the facts
Whether you’ve lived with your partner for 2 months or 20 years, it’s critical to get informed and familiarise yourself with your rights.
This gap in the law means that unmarried cohabiting couples must consider alternative solutions to ensure them both protection if the relationship ends.
A cohabitation agreement is currently the simplest option, however a will and/or a deed of trust is also worth considering.
Seeking specialist legal advice, ideally when the relationship is strong, is a wise decision. It will enable you both to thoroughly understand your specific legal position and put the best plans in place to provide certainty should the worst happen.
The right to rights
In 2007 the Law Commission recommended affording rights to cohabiting couples yet the situation remains unchanged.
During Cohabitation Awareness Week 2017, Resolution (the organisation representing family justice professionals committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes), is raising awareness to the public and politicians of the lack of legal protection upon separation for cohabiting couples, and calling for Government to recognise the rights of unmarried couples who live together.
As the number of cohabiting couples is expected to continue rising, it’s absolutely imperative this issue is resolved.
The campaign for a change in law is ongoing, but you too can get involved in Cohabitation Awareness Week on Facebook and Twitter, so let’s spread the word – #CohabitationAwarenessWeek
Committed to change
At SH&Co. we’re committed to this campaign. We’ve contacted our local MP to discuss our concerns regarding the lack of cohabitation rights and why the law needs to be changed.
We regularly blog on the issues and will also be raising awareness during Resolution’s Cohabitation Awareness Week through social media, as well as sharing the Resolution Fact Sheets with our professional partners who, like us, deal with cohabiting couples on a regular basis.
Here for you
And if you have individual questions about the way in which the current lack of cohabitation rights could affect you and your family, pop in to one of our 4 FREE drop-in clinics every week or you can book a FREE 30 minute appointment with a member of our Family Law department by calling 01606 48777.