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  • Writer's picturekellygrigg

How family lawyers should respond to the ongoing rise of cohabitating couples in 2024

I would be in interested to know what percentage of the 3.6 million cohabiting couples believe they are in a ‘Common Law Marriage’. My guess it would be quite high.

Common Law Marriage is one of the biggest misconceptions in family law and one which despite family lawyers trying to explain otherwise, doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon.

In fact, when I recently shopped around for car insurance, some of the big comparison websites and insurance companies had the option of ‘Common Law Marriage’ when selecting your relationship status.

Given the change in social trends and the historic stigma surrounding divorce dissolving over the years, there are many divorcees who begin new relationships and cohabit. These couples are at high risk because one party could have built up significant wealth throughout their life. If the financially weaker party believes in Common Law Marriage, they may believe they will automatically inherit everything on death. They could be very vulnerable indeed.

Many cohabiting couples also have children, whether that be together or from previous relationships. This adds another layer of possible complexities into relationship breakdown and one which must be considered delicately with clients, putting the needs of the children first. Read the full article below.

Written by Lisa Payne, Chartered Legal Executive at Wilsons Solicitors.

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