This browser is not actively supported anymore. For the best passle experience, we strongly recommend you upgrade your browser.

Search our site


| less than a minute read

The myth of the common law spouse

Confirmation that marriage rates are falling  whilst divorce rates are rising is nothing new, particularly to family lawyers. However the continual erosion of the formality of relationships will leave some vulnerable if they believe that an unmarried relationship provides them with the same financial security as a marriage. Amongst the most depressing meetings family lawyers have are those where they have to break this news to a recently separated partner, and shatter the illusion that there is such a thing as a common law spouse.

Prepare yourself against this eventuality. Start at the beginning of your relationship and make sure that if you and your partner buy a house together, that you discuss your ownership and properly document it. Don't leave it to chance and hazy recollection.  

Consider a cohabitation agreement to set out clearly your financial obligations to each other (and any children) both whilst together and in the event you part. Consideration of these things at the start could save everyone a lot of stress, anxiety and money. 

a new 50-year study has revealed just how much society has shifted in terms of marriage and divorce.


family law, divorce