Unmarried couples should prepare for all eventualities says local law firm

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Bennett Griffin LLP says unmarried couples are at risk if they don’t plan or prepare for all eventualities when co-habiting or combining assets.

In a recent case where a man who had split up with his co-cohabiting partner 17 years ago, he was awarded a half share in the house they once lived in, even though he had never paid the mortgage.

The house was purchased as joint tenants or co – owners and remained so after the relationship dissolved.

Bennett Griffin LLP says couples should plan for a worst case scenario where they split up and must deal with distribution of their assets, as co-habiting couples have fewer rights than those who are married or in a civil partnership.

Seeking the advice of a solicitor before moving in or breaking up can help to make this as painless as possible and could save a lot of time and money if you do split up.

Rights surrounding parental responsibility, wills and pensions also differ compared to couples who are married or in a civil partnership. These issues can be explained in detail by a family solicitor.

Law Society President Robert Heslett says:

“It is no surprise that couples do not want to consider the ramifications if they break up but it is essential that when committing to set up home together to seek legal advice from a solicitor in order to prepare for any eventuality.

“Cases like the one described are happening all too frequently and we urge co-cohabiting couples to ensure they have protected their assets or they too may face a similar fate.”

This advice comes as part of the Law Society’s nationwide YOUR SOLICITOR, QUALIFIED TO ANSWER campaign, which takes a Beatles theme with the strapline ‘Help, I need somebody’. It is currently featured in the national press, on trams, metros, railway stations, buses, on taxis, at televised cricket matches and online, with over 380 million opportunities to see.

Notes for editors

The Law Society Customer Guides cover a range of common legal problems, including; Using a solicitor, Setting up home with your partner, Civil partnerships Buying a home, Making a will, Renting a home, Renting out your property, Getting a divorce, Making a personal injury claim, Probate, Claiming asylum and Problems at work.

The Law Society’s customer guides can be downloaded from the website www.lawsociety.org.uk  and free copies can be ordered by calling 0870 3333 084 or by sending an e-mail to law.society@corporatemailing.co.uk