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The most popular day for marriages coincides with campaign to raise awareness of the common-law marriage myth.

   

Saturday 18 August has been reported as the most common day in 2018 to tie the knot in the UK.

   

However, since the early 1970’s the number of people actually getting married has steadily decreased, dropping a further 3.4% last year. There have been many theories about why marriage rates are falling, but regardless the fact remains that fewer people are formalising their relationship.

   

In 2016 there were 3.3 million cohabiting couples or around 6.6 million cohabiting adults. This is officially the fastest growing family type, more than doubling from 1.5 million couples just 20 years ago.

   

Yet, a 2017 ComRes survey showed that only one couple in three knew there was no such thing as ‘common-law marriage’.

   

The issue is widespread with nearly 98% of professionals from family justice group Resolution reported having worked with a cohabiting couple who they were unable to help. A further 90% said the couples are often surprised to find out about their lack of rights.

   

To help highlight this issue, family lawyers are campaigning to raise awareness and encourage cohabiting couples to take steps to protect themselves and their families.

As Rob Parker, specialist family solicitors at Lamb Brooks LLP explains: “If an unmarried couple breaks up, they would not necessarily be entitled to share in (what they thought were their) joint assets, such as a house they may have made significant financial contributions to, if they aren’t named as an owner on the deed. This is the same regardless of how long they have been together or whether they have children.”

   

“Government has an opportunity to update legislation, to bring our laws in line with modern family types. British Politician, Caroline Lucas raised an early day motion in November, which has already been supported by 23 cross-party MPs.”

   

“In the absence of action from Government, these couples need to know that they are not given rights through common-law marriage so they can take appropriate actions to protect themselves. For example signing a cohabitation agreement is an easy and cost effective way to get financial peace of mind without getting married or forming a civil partnership.”

   

For further advice about your legal position, cohabitation agreements, pre-nuptual agreements or any other family law matters please contact Rob Parker, Associate Solicitor on 01256 305530 or email rob.parker@lambbrooks.com

     

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice.  The law may have changed since this article was published.   Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.