Cohabitation (Living Together Unmarried)

The rights of unmarried couples

Those who choose to cohabit (i.e. live together but not get married) should be aware that they do not actually qualify for any special legal protection if their relationship should break down – the relevant legal status is restricted to those who are married or in a civil partnership.

The idea of common law marriage (or indeed a common law wife or husband) is a myth under the legal system in the UK. Should the relationship break down between unmarried people, the law will have no say in what is fair or reasonable unless they have prepared in other ways.

Fortunately, if you do not wish to officially partner but want to ensure the future security of both participants should you part ways, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Essentially, you should perform the following three actions (click to find out more):

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