Common-law Marriage

Common-law Marriage

There is a common misconception amongst cohabiting couples or those proposing to live together, that rights equivalent to those of married couples are acquired after they have lived together for 6 months or more and they then become “common-law” husband and wife.  There is in fact no such legal status.  Unfortunately this mythical status is perpetuated by the media.

In 2006 The Law Commission published a consultation paper – “Cohabitation: The Financial Consequences of Relationship Breakdown”.  It is hoped the Commission will be reporting on the consultation process and setting out its recommendations this Summer although it will be at least another year before it appears in the Queen’s Speech.

In the meanwhile consideration should be given to having a Cohabitation Agreement prepared for you.  Whilst such agreements are not binding under English law at present, particularly with reform on the horizon, they are likely to gain in popularity.

Published on web site – July 2007


The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances. (50587)