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Family Law Partners are calling on unmarried couples in Brighton and Hove to take action to protect themselves, as they could be vulnerable if the relationship breaks down.
Brighton family lawyer Lauren Guy from Family Law Partners made the calls as part of a national Cohabitation Awareness Week that is being led by Resolution, who campaign for a fairer family justice system.
Cohabitation Awareness Week aims to raise awareness about the lack of rights that exist for unmarried couples who live together.
There are about 7 million people in the UK living in this type of relationship, making this the fastest growing family type in the country.
Lauren explained that most couples the firm worked with mistakenly believe that they acquire ‘common law’ rights after living with their partner for a certain amount of time or having children together. She said:
“The sad reality is that unmarried couples in Brighton and Hove have very limited legal rights and responsibilities towards each other if the relationship breaks down.”
Lauren continues: “I regularly meet people who have been affected in this way, and because of the lack of legal protection, there are times when I simply can’t help them.
This is why I urge all cohabiting couples in the city to consider taking out basic protections, such as a cohabitation agreement to protect both partners if they separate, or think about life insurance. By setting out your intentions in these documents, you’ll be in a much better situation if the unexpected happens.”
Lauren, who is also a committee member with the East Sussex branch of Resolution added that Resolution had made resources available, both to the public but also local advice providers, such as mortgage advisers, to help them spread the word to cohabiting couples they work with.
Lauren met with Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, to discuss how Parliament can change the law to give cohabiting couples more protection.
“I was delighted to meet with Lauren from Family Law Partners to discuss the legal issues around co-habitation.”
“As the number of cohabiting couples in our city grows, more and people will be affected by these issues. I’d therefore urge all cohabiting couples to make sure they understand their legal situation, and consider measures to protect themselves in the future should their relationship break down.”
On 22 November, Caroline tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament, calling for greater rights for cohabiting couples. Read Early Day Motion 582 here: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2017-19/582
Each day throughout Cohabitation Awareness Week, Family Law Partners will be publishing blogs, factsheets and other resources to help unmarried couples understand their legal position and what would happen if they separated.?