Many people choose to live together without the legal recognition of their couple status by marriage or civil partnership. This Living Together as a couple is often known as ‘cohabitation’ so as to distinguish it from people simply living together under the same room without being a couple.
Living together and in particular, buying a home together, is a big step and in a positive state of mind, worries and legalities are not always at the forefront of your thinking.
Despite people hearing and using the expression ‘common law’ husband/wife, the stark reality is that people who live together on an informal basis do not have legal rights based on being in a relationship. If things go wrong, which sometimes they do, there is no ‘common law marriage’ to give them rights and help them resolve difficulties. Centuries ago, it was possible to have local customs which sometimes substituted for legal marriage, but those days are long gone.
Separation from a partner can be a very stressful time and people will have questions: about what happens about where each will live, what happens about the home and assets and what happens about the children?