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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Not getting married? We advise you sign a cohabitation agreement

QI have cohabited for 25 years, we have no dependent children.

The house and bank accounts are all in my partner’s name as I have never worked but, by agreement, I cared for the children. He has a pension but I have none. He tells me he wants to end the relationship and wants me to move out of our home. I have been told that I have ‘common law wife rights’.

AThere is no such thing as ‘common law wife rights’. On the facts as above, you would have no claim against any assets unless in they are in joint names. The only exception to this is if you could show that there was a joint intention that you should have a share in the home. This is hard to do and you need legal advice.

You have no rights to maintenance, nor any claim against his pension.

Your partner cannot force you out of the house without a court order. He would have to give you reasonable notice to vacate (perhaps, three to six months) and then start court proceedings.

If your partner dies while you are living together then unless he has made a will, his assets will go into his estate. You are not entitled to those assets as of right. However, if you have lived together for more than two years and are living together at the time of his death and he makes no provision or suitable provision for you, you can make an application against his estate.

Although you would not be your partner’s widow for the purpose of his pension you may be able to convince the pension trustees that it would be appropriate for some or all of any pension to be paid to you.

TIP: If you are entering into a relationship where you are not getting married, take legal advice before you enter into that relationship and enter into a cohabitation agreement which will then provide each party to the relationship with a clear indication of what will happen in the event that the relationship fails.

If you find yourself in a position similar to the above, you need to take expert legal advice.

Call Lucy Anne Ruane on: (01229) 402247 to make an appointment to talk to our family law expert. Your first appointment is FREE and without obligation.

Visit www.pooletownsend.co.uk/cohabitation Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

Free Legal Surgery every Wednesday 4.30pm to 6pm, Duke Street, Barrow.

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