Cohabitees, children and rights

Year Published: 2012

According to recently released statistics arising from the recent census, cohabiting couples who are unmarried are now as likely to have children as those who marry. There has been an increase of 34% in cohabitees with children. Unfortunately statistics also show that these relationships are more likely to break down than if they were married.

The law as it stands at present favours married couples and on separation, the mother may only be entitled to child maintenance, rather than claiming against property and other financial assets to provide a home for the children.

What these cohabitees may not realise is that they do not have the same rights as married persons, both for themselves and for their children. For example, although there is no longer any stigma attached to being illegitimate, if the father does not appear on the child’s birth certificate, he will have no parental rights whatsoever.

The position can be rectified either by the completion of an agreement or by application to court if necessary. Parents can also ensure that children are provided for by entering into a cohabitation agreement.

For further information, please contact a member of our Family team on 01625 442100.

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