Common Law Marriage
Unfortunately within the UK millions of couples believe in the idea of ‘common-law marriage’, thinking that if their relationship breaks down they have the same rights and protections as married couples.

There is no such thing as a 'common law marriage'. The reality is that the concept of a common law marriage has no legal standing within England and Wales (other parts of the UK are different legal jurisdiction and will not be considered).

There are some areas in which cohabitants have legal rights such as in dealing with the division of a jointly owned property, but these are generally limited to strict non-family law principles and so do not protect in the way a married couple would be protected. Cohabitants will also have protection in relation to domestic violence e.g. Non-Molestation Orders.

 If you are or were in a what you believed to be a 'common law marriage' which has broken down and want to know what your options are, contact our family law team to seek advice on 01462 483 800 or

Advice can be provided in the first instance at a fixed fee appointment. A 1-hour appointment at a cost of £144 inclusive of VAT or an appointment for 1 hour & 30 minutes is £180 inclusive of VAT at the time of writing (February 2018).

By Vyonne Manuel