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Unmarried couples urged to consider cohabitation agreements

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Couples across the UK who are living together but not married or in a civil partnership are being urged to consider the importance of cohabitation agreements.

The calls come after data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) recently found that the number of cohabiting couples in the UK doubled between 1996 and 2016 – making cohabitees officially the fastest-growing family type in the UK.

Despite this, separate research has found that the vast majority of cohabiting couples have a very poor understanding of their legal rights – and that the myth of ‘common law marriage’ still exists.

A recent survey of 1,000 couples found that more than a third were not aware that they would not have the same rights as a married couple in the event of a relationship breakdown.

In actuality, in the event of such a breakdown, neither party would have any legal right to claim ownership of one another’s property or assets.

Meanwhile, separate research carried out by the Marriage Foundation in April has revealed that cohabiting couples with children are now more likely to separate than their married counterparts.

Due to this, unmarried couples are being urged to consider the importance of drawing up a cohabitation agreement – a flexible, bespoke legal document which can protect each party’s interests in the event of an unforeseen separation.

MFG Solicitors’ family team can advise on preparing a cohabitation agreement and also on all other aspects of divorce, separation and family law. For more information about how we could help you, please contact us.