News

The Myth of ‘Common Law Marriage’

Paul Walters, Solicitor and Mediator in Astle Paterson’s Divorce & Family Department, comments on recent research that could spell bad news for unmarried couples.

A leading national organisation of family lawyers, Resolution, has reported that two-thirds of couples who live together without being married incorrectly believe that they are given certain rights by ‘common law marriage’.

But there is no such thing as a common law marriage.

When a marriage breaks down a Court can divide finances fairly between husband and wife. However if a cohabiting, unmarried couple separate, then their assets are divided in accordance with strict and sometimes archaic property law. Fairness does not necessarily come into the equation.

3.3 million people are living with their partner but are not married to them. If you are one of them then you could get a legal agreement drawn up with your partner, setting out your wishes as to what should happen to your assets in the event of your separation.

At Astle Paterson, we are here to assist you, and should you require our advice then please contact our Family Law Department on 01283 531366 to arrange a fixed fee initial interview with one of our experienced lawyers, Paul Walters, Nigel Smith or Justine Woodcock.

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