Rights of unmarried coupleRights-of-unmarried-couples1

There are many people who prefer to live together without getting married. Such couples who live together without getting married are called cohabiting couples. According to a report published by Telegraph in Jan 2014, only one in four couples living together plan to marry. The survey also reveals that one third of the respondent wrongly believes that cohabiting couples have the same financial rights as that of a married couple, because of the “common law” marriage concept. Similarly, two third of the participants, wrongly believe that the couples that are cohabitating, have different rights to see their children as compared to married couples.

We have provided some basic information regarding the rights of cohabiting couples and how much are they differ from the ones, that are married.

  • Common Law:

Common law husband and common law wife are terms used in the some states of US and other parts of the world to give certain rights to the unmarried couple living together. However, the English law is different and doesn’t give any rights to the unmarried couple on the basis of common law husband or wife. The English law doesn’t provide any basis to this and the couples living together, without marriage are treated as cohabiting couples.

  • Finances:

Cohabiting couples are treated as two individuals by the law. In case of separation, any asset, bank accounts, deposits, investments or saving will remain under the ownership of the party. However, assets those are jointly registered need to be divided equally.

In case couple is married, ongoing financial maintenance charges can be claimed form a spouse. However, this cannot be done if the couple is cohabiting.

In case of children from the relationship, parent who is living the children can claim child support maintenance.

Also read: Emotional aspects of separation

  • Property:

If the couple is living in a property, jointly owned by both the individuals, it has to be divided equally. Some one of the type, one person can buy the whole property, by paying the other his/her share in the property. However, if one partner doesn’t agree to this, then property needs to be sold and then the amount received from selling the property should be divided equally.

However, if the property entirely belongs to one individual, then may be difficult for the other party to claim the property.

It may be the case that other party has paid the installments, mortgage payments or invested cash in the property in the form of maintenance and has equal or owns some share in the property. It is advisable take legal opinion from a solicitor, as this is one of the complex area of law.

  • Children:

Another issue that unmarried couples may face is regarding the custody of the children and when they will meet with the other parent. There are certain rights that law gives to both the unmarried parents. However, this is not as simple. It involves, child maintenance charges, child residence and contact and other related issues. Usually, children live with one the parent and other parent visiting the children, regularly, weekly, or occasionally. There is no limit set by law, and it all depends on the mutual understandings and agreements between the both parents.

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