Couples who choose to cohabit should seek independent financial advice, according to Leicester-based Westerby Group, as the most popular day to marry falls this weekend (Saturday 18).
Saturday 18 August 2018 has been reported as the most common day to wed in the UK. However, since the early 1970s, the number of people getting married has steadily decreased, dropping a further 3.4% last year. There are many theories about why marriage rates are falling, but the fact remains that fewer people are formalising their relationship.
David Santaney, Senior Financial Consultant at Westerby Investment Management said: “Many cohabiting couples who split up are often surprised to find out about their lack of rights. It’s vital that as well as contacting a lawyer, they take independent financial advice before entering into any partnership to take steps to protect themselves and their families.”
In 2016 there were 3.3m cohabiting couples or around 6.6million cohabiting adults. This is officially the fastest growing family type, more than doubling from 1.5million couples just 20 years ago. Yet, a 2017 ComRes survey showed that only one couple in three knew there was no such thing as common law marriage.
The issue is widespread, with nearly 98% of professionals from family justice group Resolution reported having worked with a cohabiting couple who they were unable to help. A further 90% said the couples are often surprised to find out about their lack of rights.
David explains: “If an unmarried couple breaks up, they would not necessarily be entitled to share in (what they thought were their) joint assets, such as a house they may have made significant financial contributions to, if they aren’t named as an owner on the deed. This is the same regardless of how long they have been together or whether they have children.”
“It is vital these couples seek both legal and independent financial advice, so they can take appropriate actions to protect themselves. For example, signing a cohabitation agreement is an easy and cost-effective way to get financial peace of mind without getting married or forming a civil partnership.”