Danielle Taylor | 18th July 2019

Legal Mythbusting – The common law spouse

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Danielle Taylor | 18th July 2019

Legal Mythbusting – The common law spouse


With cohabiting couples the fastest growing family type in England and Wales, the rights and responsibilities surrounding cohabitation are of growing importance to couples who are (or are looking to) cohabit. The myth goes that after a qualifying period of cohabitation (usually thought to be either 2 or 5 years) cohabitants acquire the rights and responsibilities of marriage in the eyes of the law.

However, this is not the case and is very misleading as to the reality of the legal position. Listen to our podcast from Family Solicitor Danielle Taylor to hear all about the truths behind this legal myth.

Show notes:
00:45 What myths do people believe about cohabitation? Dani introduces the myth of the ‘Common Law spouse’
01:07 How does legislation define cohabitation? The misleading language that fuels misconceptions: Dani explains what this really means in the eyes of the law
01:47 What constitutes a cohabitant?
02:17 What happens when your relationship breaks down with the person you live with? Where do you stand and what are the risks?
03:20 The court jurisdiction: how can they divide assets?
03:45 Dani explores where you stand legally when children are involved and child maintenance
04:36 Dani explains what you can do to protect yourself under the current laws if you are a cohabitant – what should you agree on before you commit financially?
07:35 Dani concludes, what are the three things you should do before you move in together?