We’ve lived together for ages – surely I have rights as a common law spouse?

Mar 10, 2014
This is one of the biggest myths in family law. The separation of a cohabiting couple does not give rise to the same rights against each other as a separating married couple.

The idea of a common law spouse is an old concept, but since the Marriage Act 1753 it has had no legal standing. Without a marriage which is valid under the prevailing laws couples who cohabit do not have the same rights against each other which they would have had if they were married.

If the parties have a child together, then rights with relation to the support and maintenance of the child arise but there are no obligations for either party to provide maintenance for the other person.

Having a cohabitation agreement in place can give clarity and assist if a relationship breaks down later on.

For further information about separation and cohabiting please contact our Family & Matrimonial Law Team at or call 01279 712556.

Jenna Brewer

About the author

Jenna Brewer

Jenna joined Nockolds in 2005 and is a Charted Legal Executive in our Family Team. Whilst at Nockolds Jenna has studied law through CILEX (The Chartered ...

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