Next week is National Cohabitation Week. The purpose of this week is to raise the awareness of the rights and the difficulties surrounding couples that decide to simply cohabit rather than marry.
Statistics (from the Office for National Statistics 2015) show that in England there are 2,779,800 cohabiting couples and a further 150,000 in Wales. The table below sets out some interesting figures which are helpfully broken down geographically across the country:Research undertaken by Resolution, a national organisation of family lawyers, have reported that only 1 in 5 family lawyers have reported preparing cohabitation agreements on a regular basis for cohabiting couples, but 98% of lawyers reported having worked with a cohabitee couple who they were unable to help due to lack of legal protection. 33% of those that took part in the survey had noted an increase in the number of cases involving cohabiting couples since last year.
What we can gain from this is that cohabitees represent a significant proportion of the couples in this country, and yet regrettably, they are afforded very little protection on a relationship breakdown.
Here at Ashfords, we are experienced at dealing with the rights of cohabitees. Our Family Team has accreditations with Resolution for cohabitation, and mindful of the difficulties that can be faced by cohabitees either entering into a new relationship, or in the event of a relationships breakdown - we have set up a specialised Cohabitation Team in order to offer a full service to cohabiting clients.
The team comprises of:
- Zoe Porter, Partner and Head of Family who is Resolution accredited for cohabitation, and advises and assists on financial children claims, cohabitation agreements and separation agreements.
- Complicated claims over property are dealt with Victoria Bonnet, a Partner in our Property Litigation Team.
- Louise Workman is a Partner in our Corporate Team and can assist with business/company issues for cohabiting couples.
- Transfers and / or sales of property are dealt with by Julia Suarez who is a Legal Director in our Residential Conveyancing Team.
- Wills / Powers of Attorney are overseen by Victoria Green, as Associate in the Trusts and Estates Team.
As a firm we recognise the need for specialist advice to help guide clients through some particularly tricky legal areas, and our Cohabitation Team can ensure that all aspects of a potential clients issue are cared for.