Here at SNS, our specialist family law solicitors come across misunderstandings and expectations in our clients that do not correlate to the reality in our family law system.
Sometimes that is good news for our client; sometimes it is not.
Myth no 1: the Myth of the common law marriage
One of the most prevalent misunderstandings is that we have such a thing as a common law marriage in England and Wales. It is not unreasonable to have thought this; many countries do have laws allowing some rights to arise against cohabiting (but unmarried) couples. But in England and Wales, this is not the case.
This can lead to what feels like great injustice, such as for the partner who left their career to care for the children but has not acquired any rights in relation to assets or property.
There are legal options to explore if a person finds themselves in this situation, but any such options are never going to be as strong or generous as matrimonial law. And there are ways to alleviate concerns in this sort of relationship, if both parties can work together and get advice. For example, it is possible to enter into a Living Together Agreement, or a Cohabitation Agreement. It is also possible to enter into other arrangements with the advice of a good Wills and Probate solicitor. These options are especially important to enable unmarried couples to protect one another in the event a death or other life-changing event.
They key thing to know is that for an unmarried couple, it is crucial to get advice as early as possible, even at the end of the relationship. Things are often not what they seem.
If you wish to speak with one of our specialist solicitors in confidence please contact us on tel 01622 23 88 50, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you wish to speak with Tanya or Richard, our family law solicitors, you can email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you wish to speak with our Wills and Probate specialist solicitor, you can email Vicky on email@example.com.
Watch this space next week for Myth Number Two.