Latest research has revealed that nearly half of the population of England and Wales are under the wrong impression that unmarried couples who cohabit have a ‘common law marriage’ and acquire the same rights as couples who are legally married.


According to the latest findings of the British Social Attitudes Survey published at the start of 2019, 46% of the general public hold the mistaken belief that couples who live together form a common law marriage.


This is a view that has not altered over nearly a decade and a half (47% in 2005) in spite of the fact that there is an upward trend towards cohabiting as a couple as opposed to marriage.

What does this mean for couples who do cohabit?  As Rob Parker, Head of Family Law and key contact in our Wealth Protection team explains, ‘In the absence of protection from the law, it is crucial that cohabiting couples give proper consideration to the management of their finances and their respective contributions to property, in the event of relationship breakdown.  The best way to do that is to have a written document, such as a cohabitation agreement or declaration of trust, drawn up by an expert solicitor in this field.  We have the skills and expertise within our Wealth Protection team to advise on the document you need and have that drawn up to meet your personal requirements’.


Nobody wants to think about their relationship ending but it is a sensible investment to put in place an ‘insurance policy’ should something go wrong – just as you would protect a mobile phone with insurance – hopefully you won’t need to use it, but it gives you peace of mind.


To see if a legal agreement or declaration would suit you and your own personal circumstances, please get in touch with Rob Parker on 01256 305530 or email rob.parker@lambbrooks.com who will be happy to discuss.



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.