Common law marriage is a myth
'Cohabiting couples need basic legal protections’ A coalition of legal organisations has written to The Guardian (September 2018) urging the government 'to take steps to bring forward, as a minimum, basic protections for cohabiting couples.'
The organisations note that marriage numbers are declining. Currently, one in eight adults in England and Wales are cohabiting, a trend steadily increasing since 2002.
However, a recent survey showed as many as two in three cohabiting couples were unaware that there is no such thing as "common law marriage" in England and Wales.
As such, parties who end a cohabiting relationship; whether of short or long duration, do not have the right to bring legal claims against the other for a fair share of the capital or pensions held in the sole name of the other and nor are they entitled to receive monthly maintenance from their wealthier partner.
The letter to the Guardian states:
"... the government must raise public awareness of the lack of protections in place and challenge the common law marriage myth. Only by understanding they are at risk can couples take steps to protect their family if they separate or if they are left bereaved."