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It is important to understand that cohabitants, no matter how long they have been living as husband or wife are not afforded the same rights upon the breakdown of the relationship as those which arise on divorce. The law does not recognise “Common law spouses.”
Living together rather than marrying can be a financial disaster for a dependent cohabitee in the event of the relationship breaking down. There is no maintenance, and no automatic entitlement to make property, capital or pension claims. The children of such a relationship may be financially disadvantaged although applications may be made on behalf of the children under the Children Act 1989.
There is no law at present specifically to deal with cohabitation breakdown notwithstanding the thousands of couples who have chosen not to marry.
Trust and land law is applied in the event of any property disputes.
It is therefore vital that ownership of real property is agreed before any purchase of property takes place, and is reflected in an appropriate declaration of trust. Further, if it is intended for both parties to benefit financially from the cohabitation if it breaks down, that an agreement should be drafted to reflect this.
We will be happy to advise you further, and to consider the position also if the relationship should end by the death of either party.