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The Common Law Monster!

View profile for Clare Thornton
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One thing that is always sure to make me grind my teeth with frustration is the perpetuated myth of the Common Law partner. Rather like the Loch Ness monster this fabled creature quite simply does not exist.

As a Family lawyer, one of the hardest parts of my job is to tell a newly separated client that their belief in being a Common law Husband or wife means nothing.

As a cohabiting couple you are not subject to the same laws as your married counterparts.

The Court when considering divorce or civil partnership dissolution partnership looks at all of the assets owned by both members of the couple and decides what is appropriate and fair in all the circumstances of that case with the interests of any children under the age of 18 years being the first consideration. They consider what are known as the s25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 criteria which includes the length of the marriage / civil partnership, the ages of those involved, their earning capacity, standard of living, contributions and so on.

Contrast that with the position of the Cohabiting couple.

Here depending on the circumstances one person may find that despite having lived together for many years they have no claim against the family home or provision on the other’s death. This may only come to light following a painful separation.

Luckily there are steps you can take to try and protect yourself and your loved ones.

Look out for my top 5 things you must do in my next blog.

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