Co-Habitees Rights

Common law man and wife. The Myth.

Contrary to popular belief, it doesn't matter whether you have been living together for 2 years, 12 years or 22 years, you don't have the same rights as a married couple. In many cases, you have as many rights as if you only had been living together as house mates i.e. none.

What happens if you split up:

  • If your home is owned or rented in your ex's sole name, you have no automatic right to stay in the property, even if you have children
  • Each person keeps assets in their own name, including the family home
  • Each person is responsible for debts in their own name, even if they have been as a result of joint spending
  • Your ex doesn't have to pay you any maintenance (apart from child support)
  • If you're a dad and your child was born after 01 December 2003 but you're not on the children's birth certificate, then you do not have automatic parental responsibility
  • If you're a dad and your child was born before 01 December 2003 and you're not married to the mother, then you do not have automatic parental responsibility (even if you are on the birth certificate)

What happens if your partner dies:

  • If your partner hasn't made a Will – You won't automatically inherit anything from them, including the family home
  • You will not be entitled to state bereavement benefit or a state pension based on your partner’s national insurance contributions
  • If your partner made a Will, you could have to pay inheritance tax on assets more than £285,000. This can be avoided by effective estate planning

Not exactly romantic

We know that separation and death are not the type of things you want to discuss with your partner as they are not exactly high up in the romantic conversation but we can assure you that being left homeless and penniless or not having a say over your child's upbringing is not a great alternative!!

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