Whether you were an obsessed fan or not, you can’t have missed hearing about this summer’s TV hit and arguably everyone’s favourite guilty pleasure, ITV2’s reality-show Love Island.
The nation has been hooked since this year’s 12 single contestants first jet-setted off to Mallorca and were thrown together to see if love blossomed.
After the typical tears and tantrums, make-ups and shake-ups, the season finale saw Kem Cetinay and Amber Davies announced as the series winners, with their romance and budding relationship gripping the nation.
As the Islanders readjust to life back home amidst talk of their future wedding and children, the couple recently confirmed their plans to first move in together.
Young love, the next step
Like many young couples, moving in may feel like the next natural step in Kem and Amber’s commitment to each other.
Buying a house together is exciting and being in love can be euphoric and all-consuming, so often no one wants to put a dampener on things by considering the possibility that their relationship could turn sour.
But you can apply common sense without killing the romance by simply being aware of your position as a couple and then making informed choices/decisions together.
Living together & the law
If you and your partner aren’t married when you buy a house together, you are cohabitees.
And whilst cohabitation is increasingly becoming a more popular option with many couples, with figures from the ONS showing that cohabiting couple families are the fastest growing family type, what many people don’t realise is that cohabitation gives no general legal status to a couple.
The ‘Common Law Marriage’ Myth
One of the biggest urban myths is that of the ‘common law marriage’ – that an unmarried couple living together (or ‘cohabiting’) has the same legal protection, rights or responsibilities as a married couple, in the event of that relationship breaking down.
They do not.
There is no such thing as ‘common law marriage’ and as it stands currently, regardless of your age, length of relationship, whether children are involved or not, the government has no plans to implement any laws to protect cohabitants in the event of a split.
With or without children, aside from the heartache and turmoil of a relationship breakdown, resolving the separation matters of a cohabiting couple can become extremely complicated, messy and expensive.
How to be protected
The simple solution is to draw up a cohabitation agreement together.
This ‘legally-binding’ document enables couples like Kem and Amber to both clearly stipulate who owns what and in what proportions, how they would propose to split their property, its contents, personal belongings, savings and other assets in the possible event that their happily ever after doesn’t happen.
Putting a cohabitation agreement in place when a relationship is strong is a positive prospect as couples will have each other’s best interests at heart and will want to provide respective certainty in the sad event that the relationship may break down in the future.
Always here to help
If you’d like more information or to further discuss a cohabitation agreement, feel free to pop into one of our FREE Family Law clinics or call the office on 01606 48777 to book a FREE 30 minute appointment with myself or Jeanette Birch.