The Myth of Common Law Marriage

The Myth of Common Law Marriage

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Tony Roe, one of the family law partners at Dexter Montague, was interviewed recently on BBC Radio Berkshire by Sarah Walker.

Speaking following an Office of National Statistics release about the rise in cohabitation and the decline in the number of marriages, Tony explained the myth of common law marriage. He said that the concept had not existed since the 18th century and set out that one did not gain any rights just by living with someone as an unmarried couple.

Tony advised couples planning to live together to have a declaration of trust as to how they hold any real property which they may acquire. Such individuals should also have a cohabitation agreement and should each make wills setting out their testamentary wishes.

Tony said that in a report published over the summer, the House of Commons women and equalities committee urged the government to improve legal protection for cohabiting couples by introducing an opt-out cohabitation scheme proposed by the Law Commission in its 2007 report on the financial consequences of relationship breakdown. However, the government rejected the recommendation.


Our key contacts at DMP for further advice and assistance on cohabitation and unmarried family law issues are Stephanie Alderwick and Tony Roe:

Telephone 0118 939399.         

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.

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