In today’s modern society there are numerous couples that live together ‘as man and wife’ but are not actually married.  However, despite the fact that many people believe that there is such a thing as common law marriage this is completely untrue.  This does not exist in law.  As yet, cohabitating couples do not have the same or similar rights as those of married couples, or those who have entered a civil partnership, should their relationship break down.  Indeed, they have significantly less rights.

If you are living together as a couple, or contemplating the same, then there are a number of actions you can take in order to protect yourself and your partner.  These are as follows:

1 – Consider how any property you own is held.  Most cohabitee disputes relate to how property is owned.  Therefore legal advice should be taken upon purchasing a property as there are a number of different ways it can be held.  If you decide to own property jointly as joint tenants then the right of survivorship will apply should either party die but this is not the case if you own the property as tenants in common.

2 –  Make a will.  In law a cohabitee is not classed as next of kin. Therefore it is important to make a will to ensure that any property or personal items are passed to the person of your choice in the event of your death.

3 – Entering into a cohabitation agreement – In the event that the relationship breaks down a cohabitation agreement can define how property and assets should be divided.  Whilst such agreements are not legally binding they assist the court by showing the court what the intentions of the parties were at the time the agreement was entered into.

By attending to the above when commencing cohabitation you can minimise any potential problems in the event that your relationship breaks down.

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Very happy with McHale & Co dealing with my Mother’s Deed of Probate and sale of her house, very helpful during a difficult time.

Ms. C Jones

Outstanding service. A breath of fresh air!

Ms. M

I would like to thank McHale & Co Solicitors for their excellent work.
The support Helen provided me with was above and beyond, it was her professionalism and her personal and effective responses which made such a difficult time for me a lot more bearable.
I would have no hesitation in using McHale & Co again and will certainly recommend them to family, friends and colleagues.

Mrs B

On behalf of us both, I’d like to thank you Phillippa, for the support and guidance you have given us throughout this process, your service has been second to none.

Again, thank you so much.

Mr & Mrs M

I would like to thank Roberto for his help and support in dealing dealing with a recent case for my son. He was professional, caring and showed great sensitivity. He went above the cause of duty in his handling of the case. He made a very traumatic and stressful situation easy to bear. I will be eternally grateful to him. He is a great asset to McHale & Co. Once again Thank you.

Ms C

Paul Fitton,

Many thanks for your help.  Very best of advice at all times.

Thank you to all staff.

Mr S and Mrs K

I am very pleased with the help that I received. Thank you. Certainly would recommend.

Mrs G

I have dealt with Paul Fitton both by phone and email regarding advice about getting compensation from a world wide organisation. From the start Paul was professional, knowledgeable, friendly and gave very sound advice too. Plus I won the case. Thank you Paul, very much appreciated

Ms G

Excellent and professional service with clear explanations and guidance throughout. We can thoroughly recommend the firm and in particular Philippa Wright, Head of Wills and Probate.

Mr & Mrs N

A quick, efficient way to ensure your wishes are recorded for end of life. Good advice given and explained in a clear concise manner. Thank you.

Ms E

Michaela was exceptional in both advice and the completion of the will. Michaela was kind, considerate, professional and her manner and personality was one that inspired confidence from the very first meeting, going way above what I expected.

Mrs M

Wonderful service provided by Helen Green – very thorough knowledge. I am extremely satisfied as I was helped through a difficult time when I was uncertain how to go forward.

Mrs C

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