Does Cohabiting Give You The Same Rights As A Married Person?

17th October 2017 by

No, is the short answer. It is a long standing myth that cohabiting couples have the same rights financially as married couples, this is not the case. Although in very few circumstances, as a cohabitee, you may have some rights financially, this is not guaranteed.

This depends on whether there are any children of the family, any interest you may have in any property as a joint tenant/tenant in common. Any application in respect of finances for cohabitees are to be made in Tort Law under TOLATA. In cases where parties are married all finances are dealt with in family courts as matrimonial matters.

As stated, if, as cohabitees, there are children involved, it may be possible to make an application under Schedule 1 of the Children Act, but this is only possible in extreme circumstances e.g. you have no way of housing the children and your ex-partner owns properties or is in a financial state to provide funds for the children.

Cohabiting is however relevant if you later marry. For example, you and your partner have been cohabiting since 1999 but only married in 2010. The period taken in to consideration when dealing with finances will be the time from commencement of cohabitation.

Therefore, the myth of the ‘common law rights’ of cohabitees is just that..a myth!

For more information on this topic or any of the services we provide please contact Catherine Taylor on 01273 685 888 or email catherine.taylor@healys.com.