There is an increasing trend to cohabit instead of marry or to cohabit before marriage. Resolution, the national body of family law solicitors dedicated to constructive resolution of family law disputes, report that statistics show cohabiting couples represent nearly 10% of the population, a rise from 6.8% in 2002.
Many people still believe in the existence of the common law wife or husband but the law does not afford the same protection to cohabiting couples who separate as it does to married couples upon divorce.
Resolution has been campaigning for a change in the law to provide better protection to cohabiting couples upon separation but the law is yet to catch up with this rapid change to family life. This leaves families in a vulnerable position particularly those with children.
Hopefully with the ushering in of a new Justice Minister change will happen but in the meantime we at Rees Page have specialist family lawyers who are members of Resolution and are able to offer expert advice to cohabiting couples who may have any concerns about their legal position following separation.