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Our blog provides illustrated practical guides for those going through the divorce process, plus news on divorce, money and family breakdown.

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25 September 2013

'Common law marriage' myth needs addressing, say MPs

A survey of MPs has revealed that 69% of Parliamentarians agree there is a mistaken belief in the existence of 'common law marriage' among their constituents, and that 57% believe the law needs to be changed to provide greater protection for unmarried couples upon separation.

Resolution, the national organisation of family solicitors, has commissioned a survey which they say shows that:

  • 7 in 10 Parliamentarians agree there is a mistaken belief in common law marriage.
  • Three quarters of MPs agree legal rights for unmarried cohabiting couples unclear, with 60% believing there is a need for greater legal protection for unmarried couples upon separation.

The results of the survey, commissioned by Resolution, come as the Liberal Democrats prepare to debate a policy motion on the subject at their annual conference in Glasgow today.

Cohabitation – where people are living with their partner but not married or in a civil partnership – is the fastest growing family type in the UK, yet there is little or no protection for couples should they separate. In 2012, there were 5.9m people cohabiting in the UK, double the 1996 figure.

Read more on this story here.