Cohabiting couples – Know your rights!
Legal Rights of Cohabiting Couples
Numerous couples live together without actually getting married, and some even decide never to get married at all. It is crucial to understand that unmarried couples living together have distinct rights from the married ones. A cohabiting couple has less responsibility to the other party even when they decide to end the relationship.
Here are some vital issues to be aware of before moving in with your partner without getting married.
Spousal support after breaking up?
According to the law, couples casually living together have no legal responsibility for the other party once they decide to end the relationship. If the two of you quit, then no one has financial obligation over the former partner.
Some cohabiting couples will even start families together. If they decide to break up, they cannot claim support from their spouse, but the child support can be requested. In Wales and England, parents ought to be responsible for the financial needs of their kids via the Child Maintenance Service by the government.
Parental rights of unmarried couples
Mothers in a cohabiting relationship have responsibility for parenthood on their children. However, on the fathers’ side, it is not automatic unless they are married. The fathers in cohabiting relationships can have parental obligation over their children when their name also appears on the kid’s birth certificate.
The parental obligation is quite crucial because it means you are answerable and have rights over your child. Cohabiting couples must decide on what should happen to their kids in the event of breaking up. Registering their birth certificate jointly provides the children with an extra layer of security in case of death of one party.
Including the name of the father on the child’s birth certificate
Under the following circumstances is when the name of the kid’s father can be added on the birth certificate:
• Jointly registration. It is where both parents will agree to sign the birth certificate together. The father’s name is then included on the child’s birth certificate.
• Completion of a mandatory declaration of parentage. It occurs when one party completes this declaration, and the other will take that signed form so that they can register the birth.
• Court order. One party can obtain a court order to have the father’s name included so that they can be responsible for the child too.
Rights of cohabiting couples if one party dies
Couples that are not married would not have automatic access to the inheritance of their spouse property if there was no will drafted. When a partner dies, there are legal procedures that are followed to determine who should benefit from their property.
However, the cohabiting partner may claim the estate under the Inheritance Act 1975. The surviving partner may claim part of the estate if:
• The partner passed on without a will or;
• Their partner wrote a will that did not include the cohabiting partner in the will.
The remaining partner only has six months to claim after the letters of Administration are released. It is usually not easy to claim after the six months have elapsed though it is possible with slim chances of being accepted.
Joint bank account between cohabiting partners?
Yes, it can work. You don’t have to be married couples to have a shared bank account. Joint accounts are very vital in simplifying and minimizing wastage of finances. They help a lot with household expenses and bills. Some couples will, however, decide to have separate accounts. It all depends on the pair in question.
Most of these couples are not aware of the implications of having a joint account. Upon breaking up, one party can decide to withdraw all the cash, and very little can be done to acquire back the money. It could also have some effect on your credit score if the partner has poor ratings.
For further advice or guidance, seek legal council from a reputable solicitors.