Despite what many people think, there is no such status, legally speaking, as a ‘common-law’ spouse. This means that if you and your partner separate, there is no legal protection for either of you in terms of your assets. The circumstances and history of the relationship become relevant in cases such as where one partner has stayed at home to care for children or has contributed to the home financially but is not named on the deeds to the home. If a couple who are married or in a civil partnership break up, both parties would be entitled to their share of assets. However, an unmarried homemaker, for example, might find themselves in financial difficulties if they separate from their partner.
If you are setting up a home with a partner, it is a good idea to make sure that legal and financial affairs are put in order by getting a cohabitation agreement. A cohabitation agreement can be tailored to the individual couple's situation, but should set out, for example, how the property ownership is to be shared, how the parties' income is to be utilised, i.e. either pooling resources or maintaining separate accounts, and provisions for changes in the future to the agreement should it be necessary.
Contact Dale & Co. for more advice or information
Last Updated: Thursday 25th April 2019
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