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National awareness week to help cohabiting couples understand their legal rights

The drive to ensure that as many cohabitating couples as possible understand how limited their legal rights are compared to married couples is to continue with a special awareness week dedicated to the issue.

Every year, Resolution, a national group of 3,500 family lawyers who believe in resolving family disputes in a constructive and non-confrontational manner, hold an awareness week to promote a particular aspect of family law and for 2017 have picked cohabitation, an area in which there has been little legal progress.

More cohabitees than ever before

Cohabitating couples are now the fastest growing family type in the UK, with more than three million people living in this type of relationship.

And though pressure is growing to provide cohabitees with greater legal protection, one of the problems is that many still mistakenly believe they have the same rights as married couples.

A recent survey of 1,000 cohabiting adults found that:

  • More than one third either believe they have the same legal rights as married couples or don't know;
  • Another 35 per cent don't know that a property owned as joint tenants will usually be split 50/50 regardless of how much each party put in;
  • More than three quarters have never heard of legally binding cohabitation agreements;
  • Of those who have heard of them, just one in ten actually have one in place while only two per cent of all respondents have one.

Whilst it is clear that society is changing, the legal system is not keeping up and this is frequently causing unfair results when couples part.

At Wards Solicitors, our cohabitation lawyers have specialist legal knowledge of the law and how to help you protect yourself, your finances and property in the event of a split, including taking out a Cohabitation Agreement and/or a Declaration of Trust.

For help and advice please contact Lucia Mills or Claire James.

  • Cohabitation Awareness Week takes place from November 27 to December 1.