Family and Divorce Law Jargon Buster: Part 5 – Common Law Marriage

June 26, 2013, By Slater Heelis

This is the next instalment in our bitesize blog series in which we hope to demystify some of the terms that are frequently used by family solicitors when giving legal advice and in the family courts environment.

COMMON LAW MARRIAGE:  This is a term often used to describe a relationship where people are living together as husband and wife but have never actually married.  However, it is a social term used to describe cohabiting couples and carries no legal rights or responsibilities.  A cohabiting couple do not receive the same legal treatment as a married couple upon the breakdown of their relationship.  For this reason the term ‘common law marriage’ is very misleading.  An unmarried couple should always consider having a cohabitation agreement setting out how their assets should be divided in the event of relationship breakdown and should take legal advice as to how their assets would be dealt with in the event of their separation.

If you require further family law legal advice, please contact one of the members of our Family team at Slater Heelis LLP for more information and a free initial consultation on 0845 873 6500 or