The UK’s most popular day for getting married is set to be Saturday 18th August this year.

Despite this, the number of couples getting married since the early 1970s has actually declined with a 3.4% decrease recorded last year along.

On the other hand, the number of cohabiting couples has increased significantly. 3.3m couples now cohabit; this is double the figure from 20 years ago. With so many now cohabiting, you would think couples would be very much aware of their rights but this doesn’t appear to be the case. A 2017 ComRes survey found that just one in every three couples knows that there is no such thing as common law marriage.

Common law marriage is the wrongly thought idea that you can acquire certain rights, similar to those held by married couples, after cohabiting for a certain amount of time or by having children together. Let’s get this straight; common law marriage is a myth.

As it stands there is currently no legislation providing rights to cohabiting couples should they break up.

On breaking up, an unmarried couple would not necessarily be entitled to claim assets they believe to be jointly owned. For example, if the deeds to their home are in one person’s name but the other person has made significant financial contributions to it, they would not legally be entitled to claim a portion of it.

For this reason, family law specialists such as myself, are calling for more awareness of the rights of unmarried couples and are also calling on the Government to update legislation, to bring our laws in line with modern family types.

By raising awareness of the lack of right for cohabiting couples, we hope to encourage more couples to protect themselves legally through simple solutions such as the signing of a cohabitation agreement which can give financial peace of mind to couples who have decided to cohabit rather than enter into a marriage.

If you would like to discuss the option of signing a cohabitation agreement or any other family law matters including child law, please get in touch with the family law team at Farleys Solicitors on 0845 287 0939 or contact us through our online enquiry form.