Should I Get Married Instead Of Co-habiting?
Posted on 14th April 2020
The facts are quite simple: Married couples have greater legal and financial protection than those couples who live together.
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?
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.
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?
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!).
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. You should know what’s coming next here…that’s right you guessed it…make a Will: our Wills and Probate Solicitor in Longridge can help with this!
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