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There is no such thing as a “common law” husband or wife, contrary to the belief of many.
Despite there having been a number of proposals for reform for cohabitants, as the law currently stands, cohabitants do not have the same legal rights against each other or responsibilities towards each other as married couples. For example, there is no right for maintenance, except for the children, nor any entitlement to one another’s pensions.
Yet, non-married couples who find themselves separating face just the same concerns about their finances and the children as married couples.
Whilst the rights of cohabitants are more limited compared to those of married couples there are certain claims that can be made in respect of shared property and financial provision for the children.
The law in this area is complex and it is important to take specialist legal advice at the earliest opportunity to consider how best to proceed.