Cohabitation agreement solicitors near you.
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You never know what life will throw at you, and there are times when you need the best advice on Family Issues; even if it’s just to put your mind at rest.
Our leading family law experts offer an initial 30 minute consultation and pride ourselves on client care (so, basically looking after you), and negotiating the best settlement to suit your requirements.
Why do cohabitating couples and married couples have different legal status?
Unfortunately, many believe that there is a status of “common law marriage” that gives cohabitants the same rights as married couples but to give you an idea of how the law views cohabitating couples:
Financial Orders under the MCA 1973 – does not apply to cohabiting couples and to date English Law has not been developed to deal with the same.
Civil Partnership Act 2004 – deals with same-sex couples only and the Government do not intend to extend this act to cover heterosexual couples because they state that “heterosexual couples already have the option of marriage available to them”.
In 2007 the Law Commission was asked to review the law surrounding cohabitation and in July of that year they published its report, ‘Cohabitation: The Financial Consequences of Relationship Breakdown’ which proposed a scheme to provide remedies for those living together. Unfortunately, the Coalition Government announced in 2011 that it did not wish to take forward the recommendations within the report.
Do married couples have more rights then unmarried couples?
Short answer – yes.
Our solicitors in Preston are approached on a regular basis by unmarried couples, well one half of, about ‘rights’. This is often, after they have taken what often appears to be bad advice from friends, or a stalwart of the local public house. Being married to your partner gives you important legal rights over things such as property and money. These are rights you wouldn’t have if you were simply living together.
Do you have to get married to get legal rights?
Short answer – no.
If you don’t want to get married, don’t worry no one is here to force you down the aisle. That said if you want to ensure that you both have as much legal and financial protection as possible you should consider a cohabitation agreement.
Here are some of the issues you may wish to consider when deciding whether to marry or live together (unfortunately whilst we Family Law Solicitors can do the legal advice – we won’t be doing the emotional advice!) Practically here is what you should consider:
Bank accounts for married couples: the Law treats the money in a married couple’s joint bank account as being jointly owned regardless of who put what in. So, if one party to the couple dies the money automatically belongs to the survivor.
Bank accounts for cohabiting couples: If you have a joint account and your partner dies you may still be able to draw down funds BUT a proportion of the balance could remain in the estate of the deceased person, if there is evidence to suggest that the money doesn't belong to you.
Are parental rights different if the parents are married?
Married: when your children are born both parents will automatically have parental responsibility so in the event of a divorce you will continue to make all major decisions about your children jointly.
Unmarried: only the birth mother will automatically gain parental responsibility. Unmarried fathers won’t automatically have parental responsibility if the child was born before 1st December 2003, though they will if the birth happened after that date and they are named on the birth certificate.
Are inheritance rights different for unmarried couples?
Married: If your spouse or civil partner dies intestate then you will usually inherit a part of the estate (unless someone else makes a claim on the estate but that’s a blog for another day!).
Unmarried: Should your partner die without leaving a will there is no automatic right for you to inherit their money or property so this could lease their estate open to claims from blood relatives. If this has happened to you or if you have any questions please contact our expert wills and probate team.
Setting up home as a Cohabitating Family, what should you do?
Ownership of the home: It is worth considering how you will own your home, whether that be a joint tenants or tenants in common both our Family Solicitors and our Property Solicitors in Preston recommend that an effective way to clarify the ownership of the family home, would be to arrange a Declaration of Trust. Such a Declaration can also allow important matters to be dealt with such as who will pay for repairs, insurances, mortgage repayments and what will happen if you do separate at a later date.
Life Insurance: It is important couples living together make provisions for life insurance to cover each of them against the financial consequences of the death of the other.
Wills: Our Wills and Probate Solicitors in Preston can help here. It is important to have a Will that makes provisions for the survivor.
Cohabitation Agreements: A cohabitating couple can enter into an agreement setting out arrangements that will apply while they are living together as well as establishing rights on the breakdown of the relationship. Our Family Law Solicitors in Lancaster, or, if closer, our Preston solicitors, can assist in drafting such an agreement.
When you make the decision to begin living with your Significant Other, contact your Local Solicitors, MG Legal to clarify how any property will be owned, arrange your Wills and of course enter into a cohabitation agreement. Call us now on 01995 602 129 or drop us an email via email@example.com.
Why choose MG Legal?
Our expert family law solicitors specialise in unmarried couples' rights and they are therefore are well placed to give the best legal advice on cohabitation agreements. MG Legal’s expert family law team can guide you through the process and provide advice on where you stand legally – helping you to bring the certainty back into your life sooner than you think.
Make sure you choose the right legal team to advise you.
MG Legal – Your Local Solicitors (and YES, we are here to help!)