Soaring numbers of unmarried, cohabiting couples are running the risk of being left with nothing if things go wrong, a leading family lawyer has warned about Property Rights.
The warning comes from Rupinder Nandra, one of the region’s leading family law solicitors, who says cohabiting couples are the fastest growing family type in the UK. They make up around one sixth of the 18.7 million families in Britain according to the Office for National Statistics.
Mrs Nandra, from law firm mfg Solicitors, is concerned that recent court cases have confirmed that a cohabitee is not automatically entitled to a share in property owned by their ex-partner.
But she says the increasing numbers do not make families any safer when it comes to the law, particularly when couples separate.
“Even when couples have been together for decades, both contributing to bills and mortgages, the courts have been known to dismiss claims because there was nothing expressed in writing,” Mrs Nandra warned.
“If you are cohabiting then it is vital that you and your partner take the time to consider your financial arrangements. It is not a nice topic of conversation because no-one, particularly couples in love, want to have to talk about what happens if it goes wrong. But it’s so important to protect each other and the children if the relationship breaks down.
“There are now 3.2 million cohabiting couples in the UK. They’re the fastest growing family type in the country but despite this, there’s still no such thing as a ‘common law marriage’.
“Living with a partner, however long you may do so, does not give you any legal rights the way a marriage does. Separating can cost as much in legal fees and litigation as a divorce, sometimes more and perhaps worst of all, it can drag the children’s financial security and inheritance into the row too.
“Drawing up an agreement is sensible. Any couple serious about spending their lives together should have one and regular reviews are simple as much of the hard work on the foundations of the agreement will already have been done.”
Families wanting advice on the rights of co-habiting couples can call Mrs Nandra on 01562 820181 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Based in Worcestershire and Shropshire, mfg Solicitors provide a balanced portfolio of commercial, agricultural and private client services – www.mfgsolicitors.com