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One in every five families in the UK are cohabiting – it’s Resolution’s annual Awareness Week, which is launching a ‘Vision for Family Justice’ focusing on protection for cohabitating couples.

Family Solicitor Andrew Goss explains why we are adding our voice to calls for a fairer family justice system, and lobbying MPs for long overdue cohabitation reform.

Resolution is a community of family justice professionals who work with families and individuals to resolve issues in a constructive way, and a number of our solicitors are members.  Resolution was founded in 1982 by a group of family lawyers who believed that a non-confrontational approach to family law issues would produce better outcomes for separating families and their children.  All members must follow the group’s Code of Conduct.

Andrew notes: “Cohabiting couples may make up the fastest growing family type but the law doesn’t recognise them in the same way as those who are married or in a civil partnership.  If you and your partner aren’t married or in a civil partnership you might be surprised that you have very little protection if you break up.

It doesn’t matter if you have lived together for years or have children. You are not legally recognised as a couple making it very difficult to claim a share in the family home or your partner’s finances if you split”.

He added: “Nearly half of British adults – 46 percent – mistakenly believe that cohabiting couples are protected by common law marriage but that is a myth”

The campaign is also working to raise awareness so cohabiting couples can take measures to protect themselves.

The current options for people who feel they need additional protection outside of marriage or civil partnership include a cohabitation agreement to cover the terms if they were to split, a declaration of trust specifying the share in which property is owned or addressing what is to happen in your Will.

Andrew emphasises that “it’s wise to seek legal advice first to find out which option is best for your family”.

Rawlins Davy Reeves have written to the three local MPs where our three offices are situated, (Conor Burns, Robert Syms and Simon Hoare) urging them to support cohabitation reform.  The proposal is for cohabiting couples to have at least basic rights on relationship breakdown or death of their partner.

The annual Awareness Week takes place from Monday 27 November to Friday 1 December.

 

For further information or to enquire about any of the issues raised in this article, please contact Andrew Goss

Email: agoss@rawlinsdavyreeves.com

 

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