Less legal protection
Increasing numbers of people are opting to live together, rather than getting married, and then start a family and create joint assets. What happens in practice is that cohabitants end up having a lot to sort out and settle if the relationship comes to an end. The rules applicable to married couples do not apply on a like-for-like basis to unmarried cohabitants, who have less legal protection. This does not, however, mean that they will not still have to make arrangements about their joint assets and the children if they part company. You are still obliged to put together a parenting plan, even if you are unmarried. This will involve you having to make arrangements about sharing out the care aspects and child support payments, as parents are obliged to pay child support, whether they have been married or not.
And if there is a joint home, problems can arise concerning who should be able to stay on in the home and whether one of the couple can take over the home. It also regularly happens that one of the two has invested more in the joint home than the other. Another common area of discussion is the question of whether too much or too little has been paid as a contribution towards joint household expenses.
No obligation for partner alimony
It’s important to know that former cohabitants are not obliged to pay each other partner alimony after they have separated. Likewise, unmarried couples do not automatically accrue old-age or survivor’s pensions for each other. Cohabitants are not each other’s legal heirs.
The importance of cohabitation agreements
Needless to say, arrangements can be made in a cohabitation agreement or a will that offer greater protection in the event that the relationship comes to an end.