To Wed Or Not To Wed!

A couple of months ago the Office of National Statistics published figures that revealed that marriages in England and Wales were at an all-time low.

I read also that in 2009, marriages were at the lowest rate since 1895, and that with a decline in marriages, there has been a substantial increase in couples living together or cohabiting. Even Prince William and Kate Middleton lived together before they got married.

This has had an impact on the way we deal with the finances on a relationship breakdown. Married couples have their finances on separation dealt with very differently, to those who are not married.

Recently the Law Commission recommended that the law be changed to regulate the rules in relation to resolving finances for cohabiting couples on separation, suggesting that they be entitled to financial relief if certain criteria are met, i.e. a minimum duration of living together.

Some think, that if cohabitees wish to have the same or similar protection as married couples, then surely they should get married? This avenue is open to them and often couples don’t marry by choice, as they don’t want the risk of having all of their assets available for division on separation. Some couples like to keep their financial independence.

As it stands however, disputes relating to cohabitants can be very expensive for clients. Cohabitation agreements can assist, but I do agree that any reforms which result in couples not having to rely on property law can only be a positive step.

For more information or a free consultation please call the Family Law and Divorce Solicitors at Forbes on freephone 0800 975 2463 or contact our Solicitors online.

Judith Wright

About Judith Wright

Judith is an Associate within the Family Law department at Forbes Solicitors. Judith writes and advises on all areas of family law, including separation and divorce, dissolution of civil partnerships, financial settlements, prenuptial agreements, injunctions, Occupation Orders, matrimonial transfers of property, cohabitation disputes and issues regarding the arrangements for children.
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