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Cohabitation Awareness Week

This week is Cohabitation Awareness week which takes place from 25 to 29 November 2019.

The initiative will focus on the need for legal reform to provide at least basic rights for cohabiting couples who separate.

There is a lot of mythology and misinformation regarding cohabitation and ‘common law’ status: we aim to cut through the myths and get to the facts.

In addition to our helpful infographic, we’ll bring you a key snippet every day that separates fact from fiction,  to ensure that if you’re cohabiting, it’s a case of ‘eyes wide open’.

  1. FACT: Property law gives much less protection to cohabiting couples than those who are married. Where the house is in the sole name of one partner, the non-owning partner may be left with little or no protection, despite potentially living together for many years.
  2. FACT: Living with someone outside of marriage does not give you a right to a share of their pension.
  3. FACT: Cohabiting couples have no legal obligation to each other financially, unless they have children, and then it is limited compared with married couples.
  4. FACT: A cohabitee has no automatic entitlement to any of the assets of the other on death. They will only benefit, if they own a property together as joint beneficial tenants and the property passes by “survivorship” or a Will is left leaving asset/s to the surviving cohabitee. If there is no ownership as described and no Will, assets will pass under the rules of Intestacy, which means the state decide. As a last resort, the survivor may have a claim against the estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975, if a requisite criterion is met, however, there is no guarantee of success.
  5. FACT: You can jointly own your property with your partner in different ways to reflect input, expectation, and agreement

Figures

  • 8% – The increase in cohabiting couple families between 2008 and 20018 – the fastest growing segment in the UK.
  • 4 million – The number of cohabiting couple families in the UK.
  • 24% – The percentage of British people who wrongly believe that if they co-own a property with their partner but are not married, ownership of that property would pass to them on their partner’s death.
  • 1 in 5 – Wrongly believe that if they have been cohabiting for more than five years, they will inherit the entirety of their partner’s estate or assume executor status.
  • 46% – of British adults believe cohabiting couples are protected by the common law marriage myth. Parliament needs to legislate, but until then, people must seek legal advice before moving in together to protect their position in the event of separation or death