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Monday, 25 July 2016 09:25

The MYTH of the Common Law Spouse

Are you in a common law marriage? Does your friend say that she is a common law wife? Have you been with your "common law husband" for decades? Have your parents said they are in a common law marriage? Contrary to widespread belief, common law marriage does not exist.

In an ever changing world where relationships are varying and evolving, it has become the norm for couples to cohabit rather than marry. This is quite a shake up from the 1970s and earlier when it was a taboo subject. What is arguably even more shocking than this change in the norm are the statistics relating to common law marriage. A survey from Advicenow found that over 68% of 25 to 34 year olds believe cohabiters have the same rights as married couples.

This is not a new concept. Common law marriage has not existed in England since the 1500s!

Unless you are married to another person, when a relationship ends, regardless of the years you have spent together, you do not have the same laws to rely upon as divorcing couples when dividing your finances and will find that you may have to seek a solution by implementing trust laws.

‘What if my partner dies without a Will?’ Regardless if you have been together for months, years or decades, if you are unmarried and there is no Will in place you will not be entitled to their estate. This is true even if you own a Property with your partner as Tenants in Common (in separate shares), you would not be entitled to their share. To try and secure a part of your partners estate, when there is no Will, you would need to make an application under Inheritance Laws, which could be very costly. Do make a Will.

Although there is no such thing as common law marriage, if your relationship with your partner has come to an end, whether you are married or not, Dawsons Law can give you straightforward advice to put your mind at ease. We also can prepare your Will on a fixed fee basis.

Uniquely, if you are seeking general advice relating to the end of your relationship we do offer Free 20 Minute Appointments at our weekly sessions at the Watton Office (terms may apply). Alternatively, if you require more specific advice, we do offer competitively priced Fixed Fee Appointments.


We can help you see things more clearly. All you need to do is give us a call on 01953 883535 or 01603 813920.

Contact us

We are based in Hethersett, Norwich, Norfolk. However we are more than happy to conduct home visits if getting to us is a problem

41 Great Melton Road
Call us on
01603 327280

What our clients say...

“ We recently had a Client in need of legal advice. Netmatters made the decision to appoint Dawsons law. Salena was professional, polite, She provided a quote and a fixed fee for any additional agreement moving forward. As an agency we often have to deal with multiple legal issues and we have no trouble recommending Salena Dawson . She truly is a solicitor at the heart of the community”


“I must commend you on your will writing service.... We both had been putting of making a will for some time, however Salena made us feel at ease with her personal approach and advice which made the whole process very natural and professional. We would be more than happy to recommend Dawsons law to our friends and family”

James Robinson

“I wanted to write now that my Matrimonial Finances have been settled and are now concluded. Dawsons Law provided a unique service in assisting me as more or as little as I required. I have spoken to friends who have been through similar process . They were amazed at how conciliatory you dealt with me and my ex-wife. You were straightforward with advice and kept my legal costs down though your commonsense approach. Thank you so much.”

Mr R - Swaffham